CHICAGO (jGLi) – Daniel Arcenal Geneta came to the United States in August 1994. Because of the events of September 11, 2001, he joined the New York Army National Guard in 2006. He is a squad leader in the 719th Transportation Company. In civilian life; he works as an account executive at Urban Associates, a New York City real estate company.
On the other hand, Aegean Pascua Obed currently serves as a Mobile Gun System crew member in A company, 3-21 Infantry. Geneta and Obed are two of the four active duty officers born in the Philippines who received their U.S. naturalization papers after President Barack Obama delivered his traditional Fourth of July remarks in the East Room of the White House.
The four were among the 25 military men and women from all parts of the globe, who received their U.S. citizenship papers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
The two other newly naturalized servicemen born in the Philippines were Hans Lemuel Pang Sy and Praseuthsith Phimmasone. Hans Lemuel Pang Sy moved to the US with his parents and three siblings in 2005. He joined the US Army on October 18, 2011.
Praseuthsith Phimmasone, on the other hand, enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 2007. As Private First Class, Phimmasone currently serves in the 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group. As corporal, Phimmasone was selected 6th Engineer Support Battalion’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2009 and was also awarded Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter for third quarter of 2010.
As Sergeant, Phimmasone’s awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, a Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, two Meritorious Masts, and a Letter of Appreciation.
Other Senior Administration officials who spoke at naturalization ceremonies around the country on the 4th of July were Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in New York, Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley in Massachusetts, Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz in Virginia, and Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu in Maryland.
The President hosted similar naturalization ceremonies at the White House on May 1, 2009 and April 23, 2010.
Aside from the four servicemen from the Philippines, the others naturalized Wednesday came from Guatemala, Nigeria, Cape Verde Islands, Russia, Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras, El Salvador, Guinea, Cameroon, Ukraine, Belize, Palau, Ecuador, Ghana and Columbia.
In his remarks, Mr. Obama said the naturalization event “reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas.
‘WE STILL NEED THE DREAM ACT, IMMIGRATION REFORM”
“And as members of our military, you raised your hand and took an oath of service. It is an honor for me to serve as your Commander-in-Chief. Today, you raised your hand and have taken an oath of citizenship. And I could not be prouder to be among the first to greet you as "my fellow Americans."
The President added, “With this ceremony today -- and ceremonies like it across our country -- we affirm another truth: Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe. We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means -- we are a nation of immigrants. Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else -- whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande.
“Because the lesson of these 236 years is clear -- immigration makes America stronger. Immigration makes us more prosperous. And immigration positions America to lead in the 21st century. And these young men and women are testaments to that. No other nation in the world welcomes so many new arrivals. No other nation constantly renews itself, refreshes itself with the hopes, and the drive, and the optimism, and the dynamism of each new generation of immigrants. You are all one of the reasons that America is exceptional. You’re one of the reasons why, even after two centuries, America is always young, always looking to the future, always confident that our greatest days are still to come.
“And that’s why, as another step forward, we’re lifting the shadow of deportation from serving -- from deserving young people who were brought to this country as children. It’s why we still need a DREAM Act -- to keep talented young people who want to contribute to our society and serve our country. It’s why we need -- why America’s success demands -- comprehensive immigration reform.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PHOTO CREDIT - White House Photo Paul Souza