Jennifer Siebel Newsom: Trump’s Immigration Plan, A Divestment from Community, Compassion, and Empathy

On Thursday, September 23, Grand Canyon National Park in coordination with The Department of Homeland Security, hosted a naturalization ceremony at the Mather Amphitheatre on the South Rim. This is the first time in history that Grand Canyon National Park has hosted such an event.

 Under blue skies and before a breathtaking view, 23 individuals from 12 different countries including, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia, became naturalized citizens. Many family members and close friends of the candidates came to show their support for this special event. Park employees and visitors also watched on as the candidates stated the Oath of Allegiance, and received their certificates of naturalization. 

Deputy Superintendent Palma Wilson welcomed the candidates and their families.  The Presentation of Colors was done by the Air Force ROTC Honor Guard of Northern Arizona University. John M. Ramirez, Acting District Director for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administered the Oath of Allegiance to America's newest citizens.  A keynote address was given by USCIS Ombudsman January Contreras. Ms. Contreras stated, “Everyday, we welcome new and diverse stories and heritages into the great patchwork of our Nation. United by our devotion to the Constitution and to the civic engagement it inspires, Americans remain committed to the fundamental principles established over two hundred years ago.”

This event is part of USCIS’s annual celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. An estimated 9,258 candidates will become citizens at 63 special ceremonies held across the country and around the world from Sept. 13-24.

Constitution Day is celebrated on Sept. 17 in remembrance of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Since 1952, Citizenship Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Constitution Day, although Congress first underscored the signific

This week, President Trump transitioned from instituting an immigration ban to assembling the likes of a deportation force. I fear we are forgetting that we have more in common than our perceived differences.

America was founded on a revolutionary idea that all men are created equal, and we have since been fighting to make America live up to the true meaning of its founding principle. Generations of people came here to seek that promise of America and the American Dream: the beautiful idea that no matter who you are, no matter where you were born, no matter your gender, your race, or your class, that with a little hard work, you could have the same freedoms and opportunities to realize your human potential.

The people coming into this country today, both legally and illegally, are merely seeking that dream for themselves, and they are human beings, just like you and me.

Immigrants are not “others” – they are us.

And so we must not turn a blind eye to the cruelty and human cost of deportation – it tears apart families and destroys dreams. It’s a divestment from community, compassion, and empathy and an unfortunate investment of our national resources in division, violence, and hate. Have we forgotten that we are all in this together?


The Representation Project envisions a world where each person can fulfill their human potential and not be defined by their gender, race, or class. We believe everyone should be valued for their whole humanity and not by the limiting narrative that society places on them. We reject the policies put forth today by the new administration and stand with all immigrants against bigotry and hate. Our silence is only a form of consent. Join us:

  • Call Trump’s White House and voice your opposition to his deportation plan.
  • Reach out to a local organization in your community that supports immigrants and offer your support.
  • And use your voice to speak out against this injustice; talk to your neighbors, engage your network, and continue to help us break down the limiting narratives that divide us rather than bring us together.

Together, we must renew our commitment to our common humanity and the beautiful potential of every human being.

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