Those applying to be U.S. citizens in 2010 may not all look like the Founding Fathers, but as it was in their time, America is still a place to pursue dreams.
That was the message Zane D. Memeger, the new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, gave to 93 citizens-to-be at a naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse Thursday.
"The Constitution is an evolving document. Each year, laws change to encompass more people. . . . We need to embrace our differences," Memeger said. He called the United States a "truly enlightened country where people can pursue their hopes and dreams."
It was Memeger's first public appearance in Philadelphia since he became U.S. attorney in early May.
The new citizens, who come from 45 countries, took the oath of citizenship before Judge Norma L. Shapiro during the hour-long event. Memeger said he hoped they would become "engaged in our government" and honor their commitment to civic duty.
He said that his role as U.S. attorney is "protecting the American fabric" and the rights of citizens, and he encouraged the new citizens to vote and participate on juries, saying such "interaction" is what "allows America to be vibrant."
Olia Prokopenko, originally from Ukraine, said Memeger's remarks about acceptance in the United States were right on target.