September 15, 2017

Duckworth Welcomes Servicemembers and Veterans as New Citizens at Naturalization Ceremony


[CHICAGO, IL] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today welcomed nine Servicemembers and Veterans to our country for the first time as citizens and highlighted the value of civilian and military service at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Ceremony. A photo of the event is available here.

"For you to step forward even before you became citizens to defend the values enshrined in the Constitution is the courage that makes our military and country stronger," Duckworth said. "The United States is rooted in our values and the diversity of our people. I applaud you for taking this oath and serving our country."

Last month, Duckworth introduced several bills intended to protect and support Veterans and servicemembers-men and women who have proven they are willing lay down their lives defending America-from being deported or denied healthcare. Duckworth's proposals, two of which are cosponsored by U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), would prohibit the Administration from deporting Veterans, give legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service, establish naturalization offices at military training facilities and bolster VA healthcare services for Veterans.

"Men and women willing to wear our uniform shouldn't be deported by the same nation they risked their lives to defend," Duckworth said at the time.

Throughout her personal and professional life, Duckworth has also been a strong advocate for the expansion of national service opportunities for all Americans. Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years and continued to serve her fellow Veterans as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and then as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She has also made a point of volunteering with community partners at local schools, food pantries and community centers. Last year, she introduced the 21st Century American Service Act with Reps. John Lewis (GA-5) and Seth Moulton (MA-6) to increase service positions available through civilian national service organizations and ensure all young Americans are informed of the opportunities available to them. She plans to continue working to expand service opportunities for young Americans across the country in the Senate.

"Just as picking up a rifle to defend our country is 'American Service,' so is delivering water filters to communities afflicted by lead-contaminated water, picking up a stick of chalk to reach low-income children or a hammer to rebuild homes for those devastated by natural disasters," Duckworth said when she introduced the 21st Century American Service Act.