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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Martha Olivas: “For so long I felt that this is my children’s country, my grandchildren’s country, and now I know it is my country too.”

Martha Olivas, who became a citizen on February 28, 2020, told us her story with the help of Michel Rangel, an immigration program coordinator at Arkansas Immigrant Defense, a New Americans Campaign partner, who translated the discussion from Spanish. Martha Olivas: I applied for citizenship because that was my dream, I love this country. I’ve […]

August 25, 2020

Ruth Njike: I have a voice, I have a prosthesis, I’m learning to drive, and I’m excited to vote.

I came to the United States in October, 2013 from Douala, Cameroon, the country’s economic capital. I was a winner in the diversity visa lottery. I played the diversity visa lottery every year. I’d start in October and then I’d get the result the next year in May. In May 2012 it was the fourth […]

August 12, 2020

Carl Bergquist: Just two days before my oath ceremony, I learned that USCIS offices were closed and everything was canceled due to COVID-19.

I’m originally from Stockholm, Sweden. I first moved to the United States when I was six years old. My father was a diplomat in the Swedish foreign service. His first posting abroad after my brother and I were born was in Washington, DC. I had just turned six, my brother was four, and we were […]

July 15, 2020

Yisel Pomier Maren: Now that I have the vote, believe me, I’m going to use it.

I am originally from Cuba. Living in Cuba the health system is completely free, and you have free education, but you don’t have any economic freedom. You cannot be in disagreement with the government there. They have just one party. You are either with the revolution, or with the revolution. You are either with Fidel, […]

June 9, 2020

Kimiko Olling: I folded 1000 cranes to express my gratitude

I am from Osaka, Japan. I came to the United States in January 2002, 18 years ago. I got a green card and I got married but I didn’t get my citizenship until last year—2019. I waited, waited, waited.  At first, I didn’t feel that I wanted to change my nationality. I would have to […]

May 11, 2020

Candida Almonte: I saw the green-eyed woman from my dream and thought to myself, “I’ve already passed this test!”

Candida Almonte, who became a U.S. citizen on December 6, 2019, told us her story with the help of Sonia Santana, an immigration program coordinator at Dominicanos USA, a New Americans Campaign partner, who translated the discussion from Spanish. Candida Almonte: I’ve lived in the United States for 18 years. I am from the Dominican […]

May 1, 2020

Abiodun Freeman: I decided to become a citizen. So I googled “citizenship.”

I’m from Sierra Leone, West Africa. I came to the United States on October 22, 2008. My dad actually brought me here. He worked for the U. S. embassy in Freetown as the ambassador’s driver for more than 15 years, and the embassy helped him get a visa to come to the United States. I […]

April 17, 2020

Claudia Morales: The judge was an immigrant as well. Her story was very similar to mine.

I am originally from Santiago, Chile, and I have lived in the United States for almost 19 years. My mom had two siblings that were already living in the United States and they convinced my parents to move here. They thought there would be better opportunities for my sister and me. So after my grandparents […]

March 30, 2020

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

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