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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NIIC 2021 Expanding Access to Naturalization

This past October, almost 1,000 immigrant rights advocates and policymakers gathered in Las Vegas for the National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC). It is an important transitional time, and it was a welcome opportunity for practitioners and immigrant community leaders to engage with one another as well as with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) senior […]

November 11, 2021

Jose Arturo Torres: “The time will come when you are able to apply for legal permanent residency and, eventually, for citizenship. Be ready!”

I was born in a small town called Lerdo, in the state of Durango, Mexico. You could travel from end to end in about 15 minutes. I came to California in 1990 with my whole family: my wife, my two little girls, and my son. My oldest daughter was eight, my younger daughter was five, […]

November 4, 2021

Lucia Martel-Dow is Launching the New Americans Campaign’s Next Decade

This past summer the New Americans Campaign celebrated our 10th Anniversary. We gave thanks to our funders and partners and reflected on the hard work and achievement of our amazing naturalization collaborative of more than 200 organizations across the country. We also welcomed our new director Lucia Martel-Dow. We’re excited that Lucia will lead us […]

October 26, 2021

Arevik Sargsyan: “One of my dreams came true when I came here: now I am an ambassador—for people.”

My name is Arevik Sargsyan. I’m originally from Armenia. I was born and raised in Yerevan, the capital city. Ever since I was five years old, whenever people asked me what do you want to become? I would say, “I want to be a diplomat.” That was my dream. My dad was a diplomat in […]

September 9, 2021

Manik Abdullah: “I hope U.S. citizenship changes my life.”

My name is Manik Abdullah. I am an Uber driver. My family is originally from Burma. I have never been a citizen of any country, because in my country the Burmese government doesn’t give us citizenship. I am Rohingya. When I lived in my country I had never been to school. They didn’t give us […]

August 4, 2021

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