Although immigration is an essential element in the American national story, it presents difficulties for constructing national membership and national identity in terms of shared intrinsic values. In this article, I analyze speeches made at naturalization ceremonies during two time periods (1950 – 1970 and 2003 – present) to examine the evolving roles of immigrants, as articulated to immigrants themselves. Naturalization ceremonies are a unique research site because the usually implied nationalist content is made explicit to brand new members of the nation. I find a shift in the framing from immigrants as potential liabilities and weak links in the earlier period to immigrants as morally superior redeemers of the American nation in the later period. I discuss the significance of this shift and the relationship between the roles presented at naturalization ceremonies and the discourse found elsewhere in the public sphere.