Melania Trump tells new U.S. citizens how hard it was for her to become an American citizen
‘You are American: Urges them to ‘stand their ground’ in moving naturalization ceremony
Melania Trump made a rare and dramatic public appearance to welcome new U.S. citizens as she told them of her own deeply personal journey to becoming an American.
The former first lady gave a heartfelt speech celebrating 25 new citizens from 25 countries in a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
Dressed in a black pantsuit, Melania told them how she had determinedly pursued her own American dream.
She said reaching the ‘milestone of citizenship’ had marked the ‘sunrise of certainty’ in her life.
‘You are American,’ she told the new citizens, adding that they should be ‘proud’ and to ‘stand your ground’.
Melania arrived in American from Slovenia in 1996 and became a U.S. citizen 10 years later.
She spoke as her husband campaigns for a second term in the White House although she made no mention of him in her remarks.
Should he win, Donald Trump would enact an extreme expansion of his first-term crackdown on immigration, the New York Times reported last month, that would sharply restrict both legal and illegal immigration.
The former first lady described her journey from her childhood in Slovenia to a new life in the United States, along with the sense of pride she felt at becoming an American.
‘The pathway to citizenship is arduous. I was born and raised in the picturesque country of Slovenia where my parents taught me the importance of strong work ethic and pursuing my dreams,’ she said.
The values they instilled in me at an early age passion my modeling career and brought me to Paris and Milan. While working internationally, it’s headed shares of trials and tribulations, it was not until I moved to New York City in 1996 that the system truly tested my determination.
‘My life turned into organizing paperwork,’ she said of her citizenship process.
‘Patience and preservence became my constant companions,’ she said. ‘For me reaching the milestone marked the sunrise of certainty. At that exact moment, I forever discarded the layer of burden connected whether I would be able to live in the United States. I hope you have similar feelings of comfort right now.’
She said becoming a citizen gave her ‘a tremendous sense of pride and belonging.’
She noted her personal experience going through the immigration system opened her eyes to the harsh reality of immigrants.
‘My personal experience of traversing the challenges of immigration process opened my eyes to the harsh reality that people face, including you who try to become U.S. Citizens.’
She advised the newly-sworn in immigrants on what it means to be a good citizen.
‘Becoming an American citizen comes with responsibility. It means actively participating in the democratic process and guarding our freedom. It also means leading by example and contributing to our society. It is a life altering experience that takes time, determination and sometimes even tremendous strength. You are now a part of a nation with a rich history of progress, innovation and resilience,’ she said.
She concluded with ‘be proud of yourself. Stand your ground and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. You are American.’
The former first lady sat quietly in the front row while the new citizens took the oath from a federal judge….
Header featured image (edited) credit: Melania Trump/APF via Getty Images
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