NEW YORK—Mayor Michael Bloomberg congratulated 100 new American citizens at his last naturalization ceremony before turning over his administration to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
Bloomberg welcomed the immigrants to the United States, handed them citizenship certificates, and posed for photos.
“The American dream really is alive and well,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor also introduced “The Newest New Yorkers” report that summarized immigration and demographic trends in the city.
Some 37 percent of New Yorkers are foreigners, comprising 47 percent of the people employed in major industries like construction, manufacturing, health care, and hospitality, according to the report.
“Immigrants are the ones that really drive our economy,” Bloomberg said, noting that immigrants are responsible for many of the businesses started in the city.
According to the report, the population in Lower Manhattan has increased by 77 percent since 2000, thanks to a 108 percent increase in foreign-born settlers.
Half of the population in Queens was comprised of foreign-born residents in 2011. They settled mostly along the No. 7 subway line, according to the report.
The city’s largest immigrant group comes from the Dominican Republic, followed by people from China.
At the ceremony inside the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan. Immigrants from some 45 different countries including Belarus, Kosovo, and United Kingdom were given citizenship certificates after they recited the Oath of Allegiance.
Mouhamed Galokho from Senegal said it was an honor to shake Bloomberg’s hand and receive his citizenship from the departing mayor.
“It’s the best day of my life,” Galokho said, smiling. He wants to get a degree in business administration and work on a citizenship for his wife and daughter who are still in Senegal.
“There are a lot of opportunities ahead of me,” Galokho said.
Bibi Singh from Guyana, who has lived in the United States for 18 years, said the moment was emotional.
“I just want to apply [for citizenship] for my little son and for him to have a good future,” Singh said.