Making Democracy Work

New Citizens

Welcome new citizens!

Join League members in the Portland area and in Bangor in welcoming new citizens.

The Portland Area League of Women Voters has two year-round New Citizens Project initiatives. The Downeast League has one in Bangor.

LWVME Welcomes New Citizens
LWVME helps welcome new citizens at the Project Bazia Informational Fair in Portland on April 13

U.S. District Court in Portland

Naturalization ceremonies are held every March and September in the U. S. District Court in Portland for new citizens who change their legal names. They are sworn in by one of two presiding judges, both of whom are naturalized Americans. Typically, 50-60 applicants are granted citizenship at these events.

As the new citizens leave the court room, two or three League members pass out voter registration cards and, at the Court's request, applications for new passports. Representatives of The Mayflower Society and the DAR also appear at these festive occasions, which are often covered by the press.

USCIS in South Portland

In late 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service (USCIS) invited the League to play a similar role in its administrative naturalization ceremonies. Held about every two weeks, these events are smaller, more intimate and less formal. New citizens sworn in at administrative naturalization ceremonies do not change their names, hence require no court appearance.

Up to three sessions (8:45am, 10:00am and 11:15am) are scheduled at each event with a maximum of 16 applicants in each session. Occasionally, these ceremonies are held at area schools, which are somewhat larger in scope.

Representatives of The Mayflower Society and the DAR also participate in these events.

U. S. District Court in Bangor

Naturalization ceremonies are held twice a year in U. S. District Court in Bangor. The new citizens are sworn in by U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, assisted by his colleagues U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Louis Kornreich. Around 20 applicants are granted citizenship at these joyous occasions. A packet containing voter information and a voter registration card from the League as well as material from the DAR is handed to each new citizen by a member of the DAR. The League and the DAR members present are seated in the jury box during the ceremony and are recognized by Judge Woodcock. League members informally greet the new citizens after the ceremony.

Recruits Needed

This New Citizens Project welcomes more volunteers! If you are interested, please contact the Portland League at lwvportland@maine.rr.com. Satisfaction guaranteed!