Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica/Rome) welcomed new citizens of the United States into the Mohawk Valley community at a naturalization ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the U.S. Social Security Administration Federal Building in Utica where Judge Hurd presided over the ceremony.
“I want to first and foremost congratulate all of the new citizens who now call our great country home,” Buttenschon said. “The hard work these individuals put into this process is truly inspiring. Immigration shaped our nation and continues to be a core part of our identity – the city of Utica, for instance, has a rich history of embracing refugees. These new citizens will surely bring their own unique experiences to our already diverse communities, and I can’t wait to see how they’ll help make the Mohawk Valley an even better place to live.”
Nearly a quarter of New York’s population is comprised of immigrants, which is well above the national average of 13% and ranks the state second only to California. As of 2016, Utica had the highest percentage of immigrant residents among upstate cities, representing more than 18% of the population. Utica has welcomed more than 16,000 refugees over the last 40 years, and in turn, refugees have helped revitalize the city’s economy.
At Thursday’s naturalization ceremony, 47 people from 18 different countries, including Bosnia, Yemen, Iraq and Burma received their citizenship. “The Mohawk Valley will no doubt welcome these new citizens with open arms and embrace their contributions to our communities,” Buttenschon noted.