April 08, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Legislation to Grant Posthumous Honorary Citizenship to Victims of Friday’s Tragic Shooting

Schumer-Gillibrand Legislation Would Honor Those Killed While Striving to Become American Citizens

Washington, D.C. -- Today U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kristen E. Gillibrand announced legislation that would grant posthumous honorary citizenship to those would-be citizens that lost their lives in the American Civic Center.  The shootings took place in an organization that exists to help immigrants and assist them in their drive to become American citizens.  Schumer and Gillibrand's  legislation notes that many of these hard working men and women were learning English; learning about the American civic system; assimilating into their communities; and were ever-so-close to achieving citizenship.

"The people who were so cruelly and suddenly taken from us in Binghamton were the very epitome of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free who have made America a great nation. They came from Haiti, from the Philippines, from China, from the former Soviet Union and more, but they shared one thing: they dreamed of becoming American citizens. Fulfilling the dream of American citizenship is the least we can do for these mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters who were killed while working so hard to become Americans," said Senator Schumer.  "It is a fitting tribute to those who were lost, and a deeply felt gesture of respect taken on behalf of a country and a community in mourning."

"My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible tragedy," said Senator Gillibrand. "My heart goes out to the families and friends who have lost loved ones. We hope to honor the lives of those who were working so hard to become citizens and achieve the American dream by offering posthumous citizenship."

Schumer and Gillibrand's legislation would give the authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant honorary citizenship for the victims of this tragedy who were eligible for citizenship.  The families of those lost would receive official recognition from the federal government that their relative has been granted honorary citizenship.  Furthermore the designation of honorary citizenship will be backdated so that the victim will be considered a citizen at the time of his or her death.

The formal title of the legislation will be: "A Bill To Provide For The Granting Of Posthumous Citizenship To Certain Aliens Lawfully Admitted For Permanent Residents Who Died As A Result Of The Shootings At The American Civic Association Community Center In Binghamton, New York On April 3, 2009, And For Other Purposes."  The sole purpose of the legislation is to grant honorary citizenship to those who passed away in Friday's tragedy.  Others seeking citizenship or visas will not be affected.