…each of you has now made a commitment not only to this nation and your fellow Americans, but to the generations of Americans who will come after you.
In that commitment, you have given your posterity – and the posterity of all of us – a precious gift.
I know how valuable that gift is because it is the same one my grandparents gave my family and me.
I come from a family of immigrants who fled religious persecution early in the 20th Century and sought refuge here in the United States. Some of my family entered right here, at Ellis Island.
My grandmother was one of five children born in what is now Belarus. Three made it to the United States, including my grandmother who came through the Port of Baltimore.
Two did not make it. Those two were killed in the Holocaust.
If not for America, there is little doubt that the same would have happened to my grandmother.
But this country took her in. And under the protection of our laws, she was able to live without fear of persecution.
I am also married to the daughter of an immigrant who came through the Port of New York in 1938.
Shortly after Hitler’s army entered Austria that year, my wife’s mother escaped to the United States. Under the protection of our laws, she too, was able to live without fear of persecution.
That protection is what distinguishes America from so many other countries. The protection of law – the Rule of Law – is the foundation of our system of government.
Source: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Administers the Oath of Allegiance and Delivers Congratulatory Remarks at Ellis Island Ceremony in Celebration of Constitution Week and Citizenship Day | OPA | Department of Justice