Indiana welcomes new U.S. citizens as immigration debate intensifies

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Nearly 100 new U.S. citizens were sworn-in Monday during a naturalization ceremony at the Indiana State Museum, part of several hundred happening nationwide this week to commemorate Constitution Day.

“Really excited,” Wendy Euraque said, originally from Honduras. “It’s really, really exciting.”

Immediately following the ceremony were a number of services including voter registration.

Refugio Rojas from Mexico was one of the first in line. Rojas said President Donald Trump’s proposals on immigration brought urgency to his new citizenship.

“You’re afraid I guess,” he said. “My whole family is here, so if I go back to Mexico I won’t be able to help them out.”

In a new recorded message that will broadcast during naturalization ceremonies nationwide, President Trump said new U.S. citizens have the “obligation to teach our values to others.”

White House officials say the administration’s immigration priorities will be released in the coming week.

“End to sanctuary cities, expedited removal, more immigration judges, supporting things like the RAISE Act,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday, White House press secretary.

The RAISE Act, which faces some opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, would eventually cut in half the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States legally.

Congress is also weighing DACA and the estimated 10,000 undocumented immigrants in Indiana alone brought here illegally as children, 800,000 nationwide.

“They’ve grown up in our schools,” Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said. “They are now in our colleges. They’re enrolling in the military. They’re working. We’ve got to figure out the path forward for them.”

Sanders said Friday the president “supports the DACA program” but added any deal “has to include massive border security.”

“First and foremost, we have got to have a wall,” Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) said. “After the wall, when it’s guaranteed or already built, then we can talk about DACA issues.”