Smiling people holding small American flags (© Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Thirty-one new citizens from 25 nations are sworn in at a naturalization ceremony as part of a celebration of the Constitution at the National Archives in Washington. (© Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Thousands of people are being sworn in as naturalized U.S. citizens from September 14 to 23, as Americans honor the U.S. Constitution.

“The Constitution plays an essential role in the lives of all Americans, but particularly for those who are Americans by choice,” says L. Francis Cissna, who heads U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “It not only establishes the rule of law, but also creates the framework for the lawful immigration system that exists today, empowering immigrants to become citizens.”

The swearing-in ceremonies for 45,000 immigrants from around the world are taking place in famous American venues, such as the National Archives in Washington and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, but also in local libraries, colleges and museums across the country.

Each year, between 700,000 and 780,000 people become citizens of the United States. Over the last two years, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of citizenship applications, and this year USCIS is on pace to complete more than 829,000.

Over the past five years, 91 percent of people who applied for citizenship were approved.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day are both celebrated on September 17, the day in 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created.