Press Release

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

Apr 8, 2009

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.