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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Karen Jimenez: “I’m so excited to vote! Honestly, it’s a privilege to be able to vote.”

I was 12 when I came to the United States by myself. My name is Karen Jimenez and I was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I lived with my parents until I was nine. It was an abusive house, physically and verbally, so at 9 years old I decided to get out and to […]

March 10, 2022

Edith Mkhitarians: “You cannot imagine the feeling when you become a citizen of a free country.”

My name is Edith Mkhitarians, I was born in Tehran, Iran. Even though my birth certificate is from Iran and my nationality is Iranian, because I’m Christian and my ancestors came from Armenia many years ago, we are a minority. Everything changed in my home country back in the 1970s after the Iranian revolution. It […]

January 7, 2022

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

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