Orick, California — On July 19th, 2023, 26 people became new citizens of the United States at Redwood National and State Parks, with applicants coming in from around the world, including South Africa, Philippines, Ukraine, and China.
The applicants and their family members celebrated the monumental occasion in one of their new country’s breath-taking park, with light fog and towering coastal redwoods. The Humboldt Harmonies provided music for the event, including singing the National Anthem.
United State Citizen and Immigration Services and National Park Service have a signed a Memorandum of Understanding that advances the meaning and stature of citizenship by building connections between new citizens and America’s parks. Signed in 2006, and renewed in 2021, the agreement has led to special naturalization ceremonies held at many of the 425 places safeguarded by NPS.
Ceremonies are held in such iconic places as Ellis Island, Yosemite National Park, Cesar Chavez National Monument, Acadia National Park, Death Valley National Park and numerous Memorial Parks on the National Mall. The renewed MOU further strengthens collaborative efforts to hold ceremonies at locations that best represent the strength and spirit of the United States and supports the promotion of citizenship and naturalization. Redwood National and State Parks is honored to be a part of such an important event in the lives of those who participated in the ceremony.
Redwood National and State Park Deputy Superintendent Leonel Arguello spoke at the event, stating, “It is our high honor and esteem to host this naturalization ceremony. We extend our congratulations and warmest welcome to these new citizens. Our nation’s strength is founded on the immigration of new ideas and culture, and in allowing all citizens to meet their full potential and contribute to this great nation. Like a healthy redwood forest, our nation is enhanced by the diversity, resilience, and strength of its newest members.”