CHICAGO (CBS) — 67 people from 32 countries took the oath of allegiance and became U.S. citizens during a ceremony at the Cultural Center.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Danny Solis were among those on hand for the ceremony, in the Cultural Center’s Great Army of the Republic Hall.
The Hall commemorates key dates and battles in the Civil War. It’s the second recent naturalization ceremony to take place in the hall, and Emanuel said it makes a lot of sense.
He and others told those taking the oath that as arduous as the path to citizenship can be, it is only a step and not a goal. He said those taking the oath represent the future of America.
Both Solis and Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau Chief Katy Leung agreed. Both were raised in immigrant families, and said the drive to succeed is a common starting point for many who emigrate to the U.S.
Emanuel said afterward that Chicago is reaping the benefits of being a sanctuary city for immigrants. He said the shopping strip that produces the second largest amount of tax revenues for the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois, second only to North Michigan Avenue, is a two-mile stretch of 26th Street in the Little Village neighborhood. He said the vast majority of those who operate stores — unlike the Magnificent Mile — are mom-and-pop stores founded by immigrants.
He said the same is true across the country, even though some opponents of a new immigration law say that immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are a drain on public coffers.
“It’s just not true,” Emanuel said.