Read stories from the new Americans our network has helped, our partners and volunteers working on the ground, and the New Americans Campaign.

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What USA Learns learned during the Covid-19 pandemic

Last year, teachers of adult English language and U.S. citizenship classes had to pivot quickly when the pandemic hit. Instructors tried to maintain forward momentum and keep students engaged virtually, despite daunting obstacles. When USCIS offices were closed and citizenship workshops were canceled, the naturalization process stalled, and the backlog soared. To add to the […]

April 8, 2021

Melissa Rodgers: My drive to help people become U.S. citizens comes from believing that we should all have a voice in a democracy.

Melissa Rodgers was the Director of Programs for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco, where she led the New Americans Campaign from 2013 through March 2021. My connection to the United States, on my mother’s side, began when my grandmother came to this country in the early 1940s as a refugee. She was […]

April 5, 2021

Naturalization Policy Update

The Biden Harris Administration has begun to remove the unnecessary and hateful barriers to the naturalization process imposed by the previous president. These recent policy decisions align with priorities supported by the New Americans Campaign and advocated by the Naturalization Working Group (NWG) which sent recommendations to members of the Biden Harris transition team. Below is […]

March 8, 2021

Josephine Kalondji: A Citizen of Somewhere!

I was born in Congo, but my family fled from Congo when I was 10 months old. During that time, there was a lot of political corruption and tribal warfare. My dad was a teacher and we wanted to escape the lack of education, health, instability, and the inability to access basic human needs. When […]

January 11, 2021

Shehnaz Reza: We decided to change our lives for the sake of our children

Four days a week, I am the receptionist at the Indo-American Center in Chicago. As the door opens, I’m the first one to see people. I say, “Wear the mask, put your mask up, it’s not for show, it’s for your health. Use the hand sanitizer, we have put a machine over there. Go safely […]

December 4, 2020

New American Campaign partners and affiliates receive USCIS grants

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its 12th annual citizenship and assimilation grants on September 30. We are pleased to announce that 13 of our New Americans Campaign partners and affiliates received grants this year. In total, 39 organizations in 18 states that will share the award of nearly $10 million. The funding […]

December 1, 2020

Making Naturalization a State Priority in 2021: A New Guide for State Government

The 2020 election marks a turning point that offers new opportunities for naturalization. There is much talk of positive immigration reforms and much work to do. The U.S. is currently home to 9 million lawful permanent residents eligible to naturalize. During the worst months of the pandemic, the route to U.S. citizenship was completely shut […]

November 19, 2020

Isael and Oralia Martinez: When I took my oath, I looked at the clock and took note of the time that my dream came true.

Translated from Spanish by Alphonso Franco, Outreach Coordinator at Proyecto Inmigrante.  Isael Martinez: I first came to the United States when I was 17 years old from a small town in Mexico. There were no jobs or opportunities there. I was the oldest of seven children, two brothers and five sisters, and I was their […]

November 4, 2020

IRC Volunteer Sarah Johnson: Raising Funds in Phoenix with a New Americans Campaign EFFORTS Grant

The New Americans Campaign, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, set up a fund in 2018 to help partners develop and experiment with new fundraising strategies for their naturalization programs. The goal of the Experimentation Fund for Optimizing Revenue-raising Techniques & Streams (EFFORTS) was to encourage partners to find new revenue streams, […]

October 23, 2020

Toan Van Nguyen: After 35 years, going back to Vietnam was his gift to himself

Toan Van Nguyen: I was in the Vietnamese Airforce, where I worked alongside the U.S. Airforce in Saigon, Vietnam. I was a pilot and I flew helicopters in and out of the Pleiku jungle during the most critical times of the war. After the war ended in 1975, I was imprisoned for three and a […]

October 1, 2020