Salem, OR—Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers attended a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony today to encourage new citizens to register to vote. The visit is part of an outreach effort aimed at decreasing barriers to voting for immigrant communities and other historically disenfranchised groups.
“Voting is our most basic political right, and an important opportunity you are invited to participate in,” the Secretary told the group of 500 new U.S. citizens from more than 80 countries. “The people of Oregon are voters. We have some of the highest voter turnout in the country and we are so excited about you becoming a voter!”
Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers gave the keynote address at the ceremony. Deputy Myers began life as an orphan in Korea before she was adopted and raised in a SE Portland working-class family. She shared her perspective on becoming a U.S. citizen and the importance of civic engagement in our communities.
“Outside of those who can trace indigenous roots to these lands, America’s story is that of immigrants,” Deputy Myers said at the event. “It is my deepest hope you each take full advantage of all your new country has to offer. Of course as the Deputy Secretary of State, I encourage you to be an educated voter.”
Secretary Fagan is committed to reducing barriers to voting that have disenfranchised many Oregonians in the past. In addition to attending naturalization ceremonies, the Secretary has visited six correctional facilities to educate incarcerated people about their re-enfranchisement rights, overseen the new voters’ pamphlet Translation Advisory Council,
and coordinated a successful public education campaign during the May election that provided plain-language information to voters through social media.
Photographs from the naturalization ceremony can be downloaded here.