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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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

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