Some 43 immigrants from 23 different countries took the oath of allegiance today to become citizens of the United States before a full house of friends and relatives at the Evanston Public Library.
The ceremony included a singing of the National Anthem, a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and a congratulatory video from President Obama.
President Obama sends his congratulations by video
Ninth District Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky vowed to pursue immigration reform in Congress, which she promised would add $1 trillion to the U.S. economy. Then she challenged them all to go out and "register to vote."
Rep. Schakowsky advocates immigration reform
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl told of an immigrant Olympic participant that stayed briefly with her family years ago who subsequently received his bachelors degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a graduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She noted that it is not easy to be an immigrant in America, and that it is "a tremendous achievement" to become a citizen.
Mayor Tisdahl: Obtaining citizenship is a tremendous achievement
Nevertheless, this nation is "a nation of immigrants," she reminded them and challenged the new citizens to take seriously the obligations of citizenship.
Those who choose to live in Evanston, she said, should "call your mayor" if they encounter any problems.
New citizens receive their certificates
Following the oath-taking and the speeches, the new citizens proceeded one-by-one to receive their certificates of citizenship and to exit the library challenged to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Top: Applicants recite the oath to become full U.S. citizens