Members of Congress want to swear in new citizens

Bipartison bill introduced in the House by Rep. Jose Serrano

House to vote on bill that would allow lawmakers to swear in new U.S. citizens

By Jordy Yager - 09/15/10 12:43 PM ET

The House on Wednesday is scheduled to vote on a bill that would allow lawmakers to administer the oath of allegiance for immigrants becoming U.S. citizens. 

The bipartisan measure, introduced by Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act and give members of Congress, delegates and resident commissioners the power to swear-in people who have passed through the U.S. naturalization process.

The legislation would not alter any of the details surrounding naturalization requirements as outlined and enforced by U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Currently, the attorney general and designated immigration judges are the only authorities allowed to administer the oath to incoming U.S. citizens.

After attending a number of emotional citizenship ceremonies, Serrano felt that lawmakers should have the ability to administer the oathas well.

Initially, some Republicans were wary about various sections of the bill, so Serrano modified it to stipulate that lawmakers cannot administer the oath of allegiance in a naturalization ceremony if it falls within 90 days of an election, according to his office.

Other provisions in the bill prevent members who are set to administer the oath from choosing the timing of the ceremony. All of the details surrounding the timing and planning of the ceremony will continue to be coordinated by the attorney general’s office.

The bill, which does not have companion in the Senate, has 142 co-sponsors. Republicans who have backed it include Reps. Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Dan Burton (Ind.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.) and Don Young (Alaska).

The Serrano measure is on the House suspension calender, which means that it requires two-thirds majority to clear the lower chamber.


From: The Hill