The United States has 18 new citizens after a naturalization ceremony Tuesday in the Federal Building in Richland.
They come from Mexico, Vietnam, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Venezuela, Cuba and Iraq.
“Never forget whence you came, for your individual pasts are now part of our collective future,” said Steven Ashby, director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, at the ceremony.
His grandparents emigrated from Portugal, and his wife is Chinese, but grew up in the Philippines before coming to the United States to earn a doctorate, he said.
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The immigrants who became citizens Tuesday will celebrate their first Thanksgiving as Americans next week.
“As Americans we have much to be thankful for,” Ashby said. “Among the things for which I am grateful is living in a nation that embraces diversity, that welcomes and respects cultures from around the world and that still serves as a beacon of freedom and opportunity.”