Photo Essay: On Becoming New Citizens in Paterson

NJ Spotlight | October 7, 2019 | Immigration
Photographer Tom Franklin’s pictures from a naturalization ceremony at the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
Credit: Tom Franklin
Ramis Simsek of Wayne, center, holding flag, takes part in the naturalization ceremony at Paterson Great Falls on Oct. 2, 2019.

Forty new citizens, most of them residents of Paterson, took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States at a ceremony held at the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The park hosted the naturalization ceremony in its new amphitheater in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Darren Boch, park superintendent, said, “It’s fitting to become a new citizen here, as this was the site of the nation’s first planned industrial city, a city built by immigrants and founded by Alexander Hamilton, himself a great immigrant success story.” It’s the fifth annual naturalization ceremony to take place at the park.

Award-winning photographer Tom Franklin attended the ceremony and provided this photo essay.

Now an assistant professor at Montclair State University, Franklin was a Pulitzer Prize finalist as a photographer for the Bergen Record, and is perhaps best known for his iconic flag-raising photograph taken at Ground Zero on Sept. 11. He is currently working on a project on immigration and migration.

Credit: Tom Franklin
Rachida El Ghyati of Paterson during the naturalization ceremony

 

Credit: Tom Franklin
Darren Boch, Superintendent of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

 

Credit: Tom Franklin
Clever Leon Flores takes the Oath of Allegiance.

 

Credit: Tom Franklin
Elvin Molina DeLeon after taking the Oath of Allegiance

 

Credit: Tom Franklin
Marlin Geron Rivas after the naturalization ceremony