NCUA Chairman Speaks at Naturalization Ceremony for 440 New Citizens
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 20, 2015) – NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz today welcomed 440 new American citizens at special naturalization ceremony, telling her audience they will shape the country’s character and future.
“Your presence here reminds us that our nation’s strength was not achieved in spite of our diversity, but that our strength is built upon it,” Matz said. “Many years ago, a man named Max and a woman named Sarah walked through the immigration center at Ellis Island. They traded the lives they had built in Russia for their faith in the idea of America. They were my grandparents. When I think of them, I think of courage. The audacity to leave everything they knew for something so uncertain humbles me.”
Matz said new Americans, who came from 78 countries, showed that same courage.
“Little by little, my grandparents began to carve out a place in their new country,” Matz said. “In less than a generation, this country had become their home. Not just the place they lived and worked, but a place where they were able to practice their faith, put down roots, find opportunity and feel great pride in serving.
“Many of you left something behind to come here: language, community, even family,” Matz said. “Your journeys have not always been easy, and I am certain there were times the debate over immigration in this country didn’t sound particularly welcoming. That’s a debate we need you to help shape and change. As President Obama said at a ceremony just like this one, ‘Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.’
“Through your work, your passion and your participation, I encourage you to continue to help us make this country a better place,” Matz said.
The ceremony was held at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. The full text of Chairman Matz’s remarks is available online here.
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