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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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

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

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

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

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

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

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