Teresa Heinz Kerry Gives Keynote Address at Immigration Ceremony for More Than 200 New Citizens

For Immediate Release: September 14, 2005
Further information: Brent R. Carney (617) 514-1662, Brent.Carney@JFKLFoundation.org

Boston, MA – On Wednesday, September 14, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum hosted a celebration for the naturalization of new citizens of the United States at a special ceremony presided over by The Honorable Mark Wolf, United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts. Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of United States Senator John Kerry, and a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Mozambique, made the keynote address during the ceremony.

"Each new citizen to this country benefits from greater access to freedom, democracy and opportunity but America also benefits from our rich tradition of immigration, growing stronger from every man, woman and child who takes the oath of citizenship," Mrs. Heinz Kerry, a naturalized American citizen who was born in Mozambique, told the new citizens and their families. "The road that each of you took to get here was hard and long and I know it won’t always be easy in the future, but the commitment and passion and enthusiasm for America that each of you displayed in gaining your citizenship will serve you and this country well in the future."

More than 200 new citizens took the oath of American citizenship at the ceremony hosted by the national memorial to President John F. Kennedy -- America’s first Irish-Catholic president -- whose own great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ireland. The author of "A Nation of Immigrants," John F. Kennedy observed that "Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life." Kennedy continued in his book:

There were probably as many reasons for coming to America as there were people who came...religious persecution, political oppression, and economic hardship...they were responding, in their own way, to the pledge of the Declaration of Independence: the promise of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'... Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.... Some of yesterday’s immigrants…have supplied a continuous flow of creative abilities and ideas that have enriched our nation. The immigrants we welcome today and tomorrow will carry on this tradition and help us to retain, reinvigorate, and strengthen the American Spirit.

The Naturalization Oath Ceremony was presented by the United States District Court of Massachusetts in coordination with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security.

In celebration of their new citizenship, the Kennedy Library Foundation presented everyone with a special, commemorative edition of the Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy and a small American flag. A special reception was held after the ceremony for all new citizens as well as their family and friends. This reception was made possible by the sponsorship of The Boston Foundation.

The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization.