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Hudson Valley Press

July 24th, 2013

Orange County welcomes 86 new US citizens

The Hon. Judge Andrew Bivona and Orange County Clerk Donna Benson stand with newly naturalized citizen Gonzalo Arias Cardenas, Friday July 12, 2013 at the Orange County Courthouse, Goshen, NY.

GOSHEN - Orange County Clerk Donna L. Benson Administered the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony today hosted by the New York State Supreme Court on Main Street in Goshen, presided by the Honorable Andrew P. Binova, Judge of the Orange County Family Court.

"It is a pleasure to welcome our new fellow Americans," said Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana. "We are honored that your first few moments as a U.S. Citizen are here in Orange County. Best of luck to you all."

Eighty-six people, the youngest being 20 years of age and the oldest 79, from 39 countries took the Oath of Allegiance, the final part of the naturalization process, renouncing all foreign allegiance while pledging to support and the defend the American Constitution and laws of the United States.

Clerk Benson said, "Each one of you has made sacrifices to be here today, whatever those sacrifices are, we’re glad you made them." Clerk Benson also urged the newly naturalized citizens to not forget their family traditions and customs.

Judge Bivona welcomed the new citizens and said, "It is an extremely important thing that we assimilate our new citizens, and learn from them."

Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois welcomed the 86 new citizens on behalf of the men and women of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and congratulated them on their accomplishment.

The Hon. Sandra Sciortino, Justice of the Supreme Court, was the guest speaker. Judge Sciortino told the story of her grandfather’s journey from Italy to New York. She congratulated the new citizens and said, "Each of you as citizens has a share of our democracy." In urging the new citizens to become politically active Judge Sciortino said, "You have the obligation and right to vote."

Other guests included: Assemblyman James Skoufis (AD 99), Patricia McMullen representing Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (AD 98), Greg Gaetano from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Linda Burroughs from the Daughters of the American Revolution, who provided American flags to all of the new citizens.

Veronica Barker, a New York Organ Donor Network Volunteer, addressed the audience and asked the new citizens to consider organ donation. She told the story of her daughter, whose life was saved by a heart transplant. The New York Organ Donor Network is now part of the Orange County Naturalization Ceremony. For more information, please visit

Deputy County Clerk Mary S. Coleman, Deputy County Clerk Mary Beth Greene, Naturalization Clerk Joanne Aversano, along with the County Clerk’s staff organizes ‘A Celebration of Citizenship’ six times a year to welcome and congratulate our nation’s newest citizens at their final meeting.

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