The Atlanta office of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services denied a request to hold a swearing in of new U.S. citizens at Dunwoody’s Fourth of July Parade, marking the second year it has done so.
Longtime parade organizer and Dunwoody City Councilmember Pam Tallmadge emailed the request to a Toni Head, a representative at the Atlanta office on April 28. Tallmadge remarked in her email that the event was missed by attendees at last year’s parade. A naturalization ceremony was held after the parade in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was intended to be an annual event.
Last year, USCIS officials cited a lack of resources as one reason for not holding a naturalization ceremony in Dunwoody. The office held a July 4 swearing in ceremony at the Jimmy Carter Library instead.
This year, Tallmadge was told via email that USCIS cannot guarantee where ceremonies will be held each year.
“The USCIS Atlanta Field Office has appreciated the opportunity to hold naturalization ceremonies at the Dunwoody 4th Parade (DHA) in the past. Although some ceremonies have been done as part of annual themes for one or more preceding years, ongoing theme ceremonies at a given location are never guaranteed,” Head said in her email to Tallmadge.
“Regretfully, we will not be accepting your invitation at this time. Thank you for your interest in hosting a naturalization ceremony.”
The Dunwoody Homeowners and Dunwoody Reporter are presenting sponsors of the parade. The DHA has been a presenting sponsor of the parade for many years. DHA President Adrienne Duncan said June 26 that the DHA did not seek to host a naturalization ceremony this year because of last year’s rebuff. She did not know that Tallmadge, who is not a member of the DHA, made the request.
A USCIS spokesperson said this year in Georgia there would be a July 3 naturalization ceremony at the USCIS Atlanta field office; no July 4 naturalization ceremonies are being held.
The Dunwoody Fourth of July Parade attracts tens of thousands of people each year to the city.