Fifty local immigrants will become U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony on Friday, Sept. 23, the first time such an event has been held in Bellevue.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) Seattle field office will present the ceremony in partnership with the City of Bellevue and the nonprofit Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA). The hour-long ceremony begins at 11 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE.
Attendance will be limited to participants and invited guests, but the ceremony will be aired live on the city's cable access channel -- Bellevue Television, Channel 21. It can also be viewed online at Bellevue TV.
Today, 30 percent of Bellevue's 122,363 residents were born outside of the United States. Deputy Mayor Conrad Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China, will be on hand to offer congratulatory remarks. BDA Chairman Greg Johnson will welcome participants on behalf of the downtown community.
Following the Oath of Allegiance, Debadutta Dash will deliver the ceremony's keynote remarks, talking about his experience as a naturalized U.S. citizen. A native of India, Dash is King County's representative on the State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and co-chair of State India Trade Relations Action Committee.
Other highlights from the ceremony will be one of the new citizens leading the Pledge of Allegiance, and an ensemble from the Bellevue Chamber Chorus performing the national anthem.
The ceremony in Bellevue coincides with the final day of Constitution Week, Sept. 17 to 23, when citizenship events are held across the nation to honor the contributions of naturalized citizens, and to recognize the adoption of the U.S. Constitution on Sept.17, 1787.
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