An update to this story includes information about a request to Atlanta’s USCIS office to hold a naturalization ceremony at this year’s Dunwoody’s Fourth of July Parade.
Dunwoody’s Fourth of July Parade will not include the swearing in of new U.S. citizens this year, a popular tradition that was stopped last year after the federal government cited in part a lack of resources.
Adrienne Duncan, president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, said the DHA decided not to apply this year with the local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to host a swearing-in ceremony. The parade’s presenting sponsors are the DHA and the Dunwoody Reporter.
“We [the DHA] did not pursue that this year,” Duncan said.
“They turned us down last year … so we turned to features and elements that were successful last year and worked to build on the success we had. We are looking forward to a really fun parade,” she said. “The [Oscar Mayer hot dog-shaped] Weinermobile is back and we have some really exciting entries.”
The Fourth of July Parade, which attracts tens of thousands to the city, began holding naturalization ceremonies in Dunwoody Village following the parade in 2015. The ceremony grew significantly in two years and in 2017, nearly 80 new citizens hailing from 36 countries were sworn in as family members and parade revelers cheered. Patriotic tunes played by a U.S. Army band accompanied the ceremony.
Duncan said she did not know whether the DHA would pursue the ceremony next year.
“I’m not thinking that far ahead,” she said. “We’re handling one parade at a time.”
To host a naturalization ceremony, a site or organization must first apply with the local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and meet criteria established by the federal government. USCIS is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Atlanta field office denied DHA’s request last year in an email, saying, “Due to mission requirements and our allocation of resources, we have reduced the number of offsite naturalization ceremonies we will be conducting this year for the Atlanta Field Office. As a result, we regretfully decline your request.”
A spokesperson for the USCIS serving the entire Southeast said last year the agency decided to hold a “special” ceremony at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.
A USCIS spokesperson said this year in Georgia there will only be a July 3 naturalization ceremony at the USCIS Atlanta field office at 10 a.m.
This story has been updated with the comment from the USCIS spokesperson.