Attorney General Garland spoke about the need to overcome the intense polarization in America in a speech on Saturday in New York.

At a naturalization ceremony on Ellis Island, Garland administered the oath of allegiance to 200 new citizens.

Garland said that the democracy must not be fractured. All of us are in this. All of us are Americans.

Garland was overcome with emotion as he reflected on his family's immigration story and the religious persecution that led some of his relatives to seek refuge on Ellis Island in the 20th century.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks, with an American flag in the background.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement at the U.S. Department of Justice on Aug. 11 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

He told the story of his grandmother, who was one of five children born to a Jewish family in what is now Belarus. His grandmother was the only one who made it to the US. He said that the other two were also killed in the Holocaust.

Garland said that his grandmother would have died if it weren't for America. She was taken in by this country. She was able to live because of the protection of our laws.

Protection is what distinguishes America from other countries.

This message, and the welcoming scene at Ellis Island, stood in stark contrast to those seen this week on Martha's Vineyard.

A woman wearing an African headdress and another in a batik outfit sit with other prospective citizens holding small American flags at a naturalization ceremony at Ellis Island.
A naturalization ceremony at Ellis Island in New York on Sept. 17. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

The Biden administration faced criticism from immigration advocates this week, following reports that it is looking to expand its use of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that uses the epidemic as justification to turn away migrants who may have legitimate claims of asylum.

The policy, which the Biden administration has publicly sought to repeal, has been cited as one of the reasons for the record number of border apprehensions.

There is an ongoing court battle between the Department of Justice and former President Donald Trump over classified documents that the FBI seized from Trump's Florida estate. The Justice Department and Garland have been accused by the former president and his allies of playing politics in the ongoing criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of sensitive government documents that were taken from the White House.

The judge overseeing the case has suggested that the case should be treated differently because it involves a former president.

The stigma associated with the subject seizure is a function of the former President's position. Any degree of property that should be returned would result in a different order of magnitude of harm.

A mother and child in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on Sept. 15 stand outside the St. Andrew's Parrish House, where migrants were given lunch with food donated by the community. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Cannon noted in a Sept. 15 ruling that the principle of equity requires the court to consider the specific context at issue, and that consideration is inherently impacted by the position formerly held by the person.

Garland talked about the importance of the rule of law, but did not address the debate.

He said that the rule of law meant that the law treated everyone equally. There are different rules for friends, foes, powerful, powerless, rich, and poor, depending on one's race or ethnicity.

The 236th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution was celebrated on Saturday with a naturalization ceremony at Ellis Island.

Attorney General Merrick Garland swore in 200 new United States citizens at the Ellis Island naturalization ceremony on Saturday. (Credit: Caitlin Dickson/Yahoo News)

The Great Hall, where 12 million immigrants before them were processed upon arriving in the United States, was the location of the ceremony. A total of 200 new citizens were sworn in on Saturday from 57 different countries.

Joyce Ramdan was one of them. She decided to become a citizen earlier this year because she wanted to have more freedom to travel with her family. Ramdan told Yahoo News that she was happy to be a citizen so that she could vote.

People attend a naturalization ceremony at Ellis Island on Saturday. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

NickParker, a native of the United Kingdom, decided to become a citizen after 13 years in the U.S. By the time they arrived at Ellis Island, it had already been a long morning with many people waiting in line.

When he was asked if he was excited to hear the attorney general speak, he was in a state of shock.

I didn't know. He said that they haven't been told much.

He took in the long line of people around him with a new appreciation. That is a really cool thing.