Two of the immigrants naturalized during a White House ceremony claimed Wednesday they did not know that it would be aired the second night of the Republican Convention.
Sudha Narayanan and Neimat Awadelseid, two of the five individuals who took the oath of citizenship Tuesday, told the Wall Street Journal that they did not mind being featured in the convention and that they found out just minutes before the ceremony that President Donald Trump would attend.
Even after the ceremony concluded, the two said they were not aware that it would be included in the convention program that night.
While the two women are unconcerned with the events as they celebrate their newly granted citizenship, Democrats have faulted the move as Trump’s campaign politicizing government functions.
Trump has also come under fire for the Tuesday convention for issuing a pardon for a convicted bank robber who has now dedicated his life to helping transition prisoners upon release.
It is unclear of the three other individuals granted citizenship Tuesday were aware ahead of time of the use of the video in the convention or if they were OK with the move.
‘We were just happy it was happening in a special place,’ Narayanan said. ‘It was just a happy moment that I was cherishing with my husband.’
She added: ‘This is a very great honor that the United States has extended to me.’
Critics claim it was wrong not to inform participants that they would be part of a political event. And other have noted the Trump administration’s hardline illegal immigration policies, which have been denounced by many on the left.
Hillary Clinton railed against Trump on Wednesday for making the naturalization ceremony part of the convention, insinuating there was hypocrisy in the move due to his stances on illegal immigration.
‘Trump has spent his entire political career demonizing immigrants. He’s caged migrant babies at the border. He’s used fear of ‘caravans’ as a political prop,’ Clinton lambasted in a tweet Wednesday.
‘Watching him preside over a naturalization ceremony last night was like watching a fox bless a henhouse,’ she continued.
The Trump campaign and RNC pre-recorded the ceremony at the White House for the five individuals becoming American citizens, which aired Tuesday night as part of the convention.
That move appeared to fly in the face of the Hatch Act, which prevents the use of government property and personnel to campaign for a candidate. The White House said they had uploaded video of the ceremony to a website of which the Trump campaign has access.
Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf headed the ceremony and read the oath off to the candidates for naturalization.
‘On behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, it is my honor to call you My Fellow Americans,’ Wolf said at the conclusion of the oath before handing the podium over to Trump. ‘Mr. President. I want to again commend you for your dedication to the rule of law, and for restoring integrity to our immigration system. Thank you for hosting such a patriotic celebration here at the White House today.’
Trump congratulated the five recipients of citizenship: ‘You are now fellow citizens of the greatest nation on the face of God’s Earth.’
‘You followed the rules, you obeyed the laws, you learned your history, embraced our values and proved yourselves to be men and women of the highest integrity. It’s not so easy. You went through a lot,’ Trump said of the legal process to become an American citizen.
The five countries represented at the ceremony were Bolivia, India, Sudan, Lebanon and Ghana.
The Trump administration has become known for its hardline illegal immigration policies as Democrats have lambasted the president for separating families at the southern border.
He came under extreme fire from Democrats for policies on holding migrants in facilities along the border as they attempted to filter in earlier in his presidency – with many claiming refugee status.
Trump has also faced fire for delivering on his promise to build a wall spanning the entire southern border.
While it is very far from being complete, several hundred miles of border wall have been erected during his presidency and is one of the key platforms he ran on in 2016 when he defeated Clinton.
First lady Melania Trump, an immigrant herself, delivered remarks to close out the second night of the convention.