President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July by welcoming two dozen US service members as newly-sworn American citizens, saying the contributions they have already made dramatize the need for Washington to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. "Just as we remain a nation of laws, we have to remain a nation of immigrants," Obama said. "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."
The 25 active duty US service members who became citizens today hailed from 17 different countries, including Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. In front of an audience of family and friends, the service members were administered the oath of allegiance by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in the East Room of the White House. The president briefly touted his administration's move last month to stop deporting young people who were brought to the country as children and joined the US military or went to college. But he acknowledged there was more work to be done in order to achieve a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system. Later today, he will host military families at the White House for a barbeque and fireworks viewing. (Read more immigration stories.)