Court jpg

The absence grows longer

[caption id="attachment_80131" align="aligncenter" width="300"]

The Surrogate’s Court building in Manhattan

The Surrogate’s Court building in Manhattan

The Surrogate’s Court building in Manhattan[/caption]

By Ray O’Hanlon

It’s turning into the Great Absence.

Irish people continue to be sworn in as new American citizens, but you would be hard pressed to find any at swearing-in ceremonies in New York City.

Earlier this summer, the Echo highlighted a series of ceremonies for new citizens in the city.

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The July 1-7 issue, in a front page report headed “No Irish to apply,” pointed to two ceremonies, one in which 150 new Americans from 42 countries were sworn in, a second in which 20 new citizens coming from 17 countries participated.

It seemed to defy the odds given the story of the Irish in New York but in neither ceremony was there a single Irish person.

In the following issue, a third ceremony was highlighted.

In this ceremony, people from 27 countries became new Americans. Again, no Irish were among therm.

The trend might have stopped at the “three strikes and you’re out” stage but this week there is a fourth swearing-in ceremony in the city with no Irish in sight.

According to a release, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will conduct a ceremony for a hundred people at historic Surrogate’s Court, adjoining City Hall on Thursday, September 17.

USCIS Deputy Director Lori Scialabba will administer the Oath of Allegiance and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will offer remarks.

The citizenship candidates originate from the 34 countries.

The countries are then listed.

The ceremony, said the release, is part of USCIS’s annual celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

This year, according to the release, USCIS will welcome more than 36,000 new citizens during more than 200 naturalization ceremonies from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23.

The New York/New Jersey area will host four naturalization ceremonies on September 17th, at landmark venues: Liberty State Park, Rufus King Manor, the New-York Historical Society, and this ceremony at Surrogate’s Court.

Which of course leaves open the possibility of Irish participation in one or more of the other three.

But at Surrogate’s Court the Irish will again be absent and the absence will further highlight the limited scope of today’s legal immigration path for a nation that, in the year 1860, had given birth to a fifth of New York City’s population.