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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Chinyere Melville: “It’s an indescribable feeling. I saw grown men cry.”

I’m originally from Trinidad and Tobago. I came here when I was 19 years old to go to college, but wasn’t able to finish my degree at the time. In 2012 I got my green card through marriage and became eligible for citizenship three years later. But I did not actually make an appointment to […]

February 24, 2020

New U.S. Citizenship Fee Rules Explained

What’s up with the fees to apply for U.S. citizenship? Has the government changed the rules? The rules about how much it costs to apply for naturalization, and how to apply for a fee waiver, are in flux. The Fee Rule changes are currently under review by USCIS and more than 43,000 comments were submitted […]

February 18, 2020

Julie Garner-Pringle: At the citizenship test, “I was so nervous I actually stumbled as I read the English sentence even though it’s my first language!”

I’m originally from Winnipeg, Canada. I have a teaching degree, so I first went to Hungary to teach English, and then to Egypt where I met and married my now ex-husband. Our sons were born in Egypt and, 20 years ago, we decided it was time to leave there to raise our kids. My ex’s […]

February 12, 2020

Adriana Huerta and the ERC Citizenship Ambassador Program: A loan “with a catch” builds a program

After graduates of the Employee Rights Center’s citizenship program in San Diego take their oath of citizenship, they frequently return to the ERC to pose for photos—holding high their new US citizenship certificates. Celebrating by their side, in photo after photo, is Adriana Huerta, the Center’s Community Health Educator. Huerta is a cheerleader for naturalization […]

January 13, 2020

Zulema Chavero: “I have the opportunity to vote for people who represent my values.”

The United States seemed as though it was another universe, I never thought that I was ever going to come here. I was born in Mexico. I was really happy there. I studied law and I wanted to be a lawyer. But after I finished college, I met my husband who is an American citizen […]

January 10, 2020

Luis Paulino: “When I became a U.S. citizen I just felt complete. I found a voice that I never had.”

I was born in the Dominican Republic, that beautiful Caribbean island. In 2006 my father obtained his green card and we decided to migrate to the United States in search of better opportunities; in search of the American dream. My parents particularly wanted a better education for my younger siblings and myself. Building a platform […]

December 16, 2019

The New Workshop Model: If we’re going to send something into space, it has to be simple.

The Orange County New Americans Campaign partners have been developing a new model for large citizenship group processing workshops that they shared with colleagues from across the country in August. Noticeably absent from the naturalization workshop that concluded the New Americans Campaign’s 2019 national conference were those long, long, lines of waiting attendees. To understand […]

November 18, 2019

Eric Holzapfel: “My Citizenship Story Came Full Circle”

I came to the United States first with my mom when I was 4 years old. She came to study education for 6 or 7 months, and wanted to open a language academy in Ecuador for people to learn English. As my mom was finishing her education there was a financial crisis in Ecuador, so […]

October 31, 2019

Fikile Ryder: “I Fell in Love with the Goal of Keeping Families Together”

My name is Fikile Ryder, I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I first came to the United States in August of 2003. I came with a temporary work visa because I got offered a job to work in Virginia with a child who had autism. I didn’t have permanent status, so when my visa ended […]

October 23, 2019

John Jabez Ledres: “When I check off my candidate on the ballot, that is when I will feel the power of citizenship”

My name is John Jabez Ledres. I was born in Cebu City, in the Philippines. My mother was a dentist as well as a tutor and my father was a CEO for a nonprofit. They had really good jobs but even so they saw that there was not a lot of opportunity in the Philippines, […]

October 7, 2019