Pence praises 'generous' US immigration system at July 4 naturalization ceremony

Pence praises 'generous' US immigration system at July 4 naturalization ceremony
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Vice President Pence said Thursday that the U.S. has the "most generous system of legal immigration in the history of world" while speaking at a July 4 naturalization ceremony at which 44 people became U.S. citizens. 

"Last year, more than three-quarters of a million people raised their right hand and swore the very same oath that you just took," Pence said at the ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. "And your example and theirs gives evidence that then, as now, and throughout our nation's history, America has the most generous system of legal immigration in the history of the world. And we are proud to have you join our ranks."

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Pence also highlighted how the 44 new American citizens "followed the law," adding that "you went through the process to immigrate into this great nation."

Pence highlighted the history of immigration in his own family, discussing how his grandfather Richard Cawley immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in 1923. Pence said he thought about Cawley when taking the oath of office to become vice president.

"My mind kept going back to my grandfather, to his courage to be able to leave everything behind, everything he knew — family, and hearth, and home — and come here because it was a future, because he believed in the American dream," Pence said.

The Trump administration faces ongoing criticism over its hard-line immigration policies, and in particular the conditions migrants endure at government shelters.

Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoDemocratic chairman presses Transportation secretary over transparency in Boeing 737 Max probe Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Democratic lawmaker asks for probe of reports Chao favored Kentucky officials MORE also spoke at the naturalization ceremony, during which she discussed her experience becoming a citizen after her family immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli performed the swearing-in.