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JP at CeremonyRemarks from Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz at the December 4, 2014 Naturalization Ceremony at Faneuil Hall.

Good afternoon and congratulations on this final step in your incredible journey!

I am John Polanowicz, Secretary of Massachusetts’ Health and Human Services, and it is truly an honor to be here today, and to welcome you for the first time as citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States of America.

Today marks the culmination of the hard work, dedication, and perseverance you and your loved ones have put into obtaining your citizenship.

As you know, the United States is a nation of immigrants.

In 1958, the late President John F. Kennedy, then senator of Massachusetts, believed that, “every ethnic minority, in seeking in its own freedom, helped strengthen the fabric of liberty in American life. Similarly, every aspect of the American economy has profited from the contributions of immigrants”.

Today, more than a half century later, you are continuing to fulfill that belief. You have made a profound commitment to yourselves, your families, your new home and communities, and to this nation.

AudienceYou join tens of thousands of immigrants who naturalize here in Massachusetts every single year, and engage in the rich fabric of our communities.As a citizen, you are not only invited, but actively encouraged to be engaged and civically involved. As much of a benefit as it is a responsibility, we hope you will take the opportunity to become involved in the political process that can strengthen our Commonwealth and nation, share your diverse opinions that help shape our policies, and serve on juries so that justice may be done.

I took the responsibility to serve when I served as a member of the Armed Forces of this great nation, and again now in the Patrick Administration working to extend opportunities to all residents of this Commonwealth.

We know new Americans are part of Massachusetts’ competitive advantage.

Under the Patrick Administration, we have increased access to services like education, employment, housing and citizenship for more than 32,000 refugees and immigrants who go on to start the families and businesses that drive our economy across the entire Commonwealth.

Some of you may have worked with our Office for Refugees and Immigrants for English classes, citizenship education, or job training programs.

Through programs at ORI, we have and continue to help hundreds fulfill the entrepreneurial goals that so many newly arrived and long-time citizens alike dream. We have helped launch, expand and stabilize hundreds of immigrant-owned businesses, and are helping thousands more newly immigrated individuals find and keep employment in the Commonwealth.

And with today’s ceremony, you are helping us to continue to promote the full participation of new arrivals as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social, and civic life of Massachusetts.

As Governor Deval Patrick said over the summer, “We are a great Nation.  Unlike any other superpower, America’s power, to paraphrase a great man, comes from giving, not from taking.”

We sincerely congratulate you on your accomplishment, and your commitment to this country and this Commonwealth.

Congratulations and thank you for the opportunity to be here with you on this special day.

Written By:


Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

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