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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Ilse Bellido Richards: “Yes! I belong here! I am a part of my community. My voice matters.”

My name is Ilse Bellido Richards. I came to the United States from Colombia about 11 years ago when I was 14 years old. My father came first. We had a fairly good life in Colombia. He worked at the hospital doing research on tropical diseases. He would go to rural areas to investigate and […]

July 20, 2021

Prioritizing U.S. Citizenship

The authors of the report Making Citizenship an Organizing Principle of the U.S. Immigration System gathered for an online discussion on June 9 with Felicia Escobar Carrillo, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Director of USCIS, and Kelly Ryan, Senior Adviser and Chair of the Interagency Working Group on the Promotion of Naturalization. […]

June 14, 2021

Anuj Gurung: “I have a home that I was born into, and I have a home that I have built here in the U.S.”

I was born in Kathmandu, which is the capital city of Nepal. I came to the United States in the fall of 2004 to begin college in Ohio. Like most immigrants who search for something better, I wanted to be the best version of myself. I wanted to explore what to study, as well as […]

June 1, 2021

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