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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Eric Holzapfel: “My Citizenship Story Came Full Circle”

I came to the United States first with my mom when I was 4 years old. She came to study education for 6 or 7 months, and wanted to open a language academy in Ecuador for people to learn English. As my mom was finishing her education there was a financial crisis in Ecuador, so […]

October 31, 2019

Fikile Ryder: “I Fell in Love with the Goal of Keeping Families Together”

My name is Fikile Ryder, I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I first came to the United States in August of 2003. I came with a temporary work visa because I got offered a job to work in Virginia with a child who had autism. I didn’t have permanent status, so when my visa ended […]

October 23, 2019

John Jabez Ledres: “When I check off my candidate on the ballot, that is when I will feel the power of citizenship”

My name is John Jabez Ledres. I was born in Cebu City, in the Philippines. My mother was a dentist as well as a tutor and my father was a CEO for a nonprofit. They had really good jobs but even so they saw that there was not a lot of opportunity in the Philippines, […]

October 7, 2019

Jorge Salles Díaz: “I Want to Make Immigrants Feel Like They Belong”

Jorge Salles Díaz is project coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) in Nashville, a New Americans Campaign affiliate. Jorge is a 2018 graduate of Vanderbilt University and this July 25, he became a United States Citizen. We caught up with Jorge just hours after he took his citizenship oath. It wasn’t […]

August 14, 2019

Cathleen Farrell: “Hey That’s Our Flag!”

Cathleen Farrell is the director of communications of the National Immigration Forum. She is a native of Canada, and moved to the United States with her two Colombian-born daughters 19 years ago. I was living and working in Bogota, Colombia, and I moved to Miami Beach, Florida in 2000, on an H-1B visa to help […]

July 1, 2019

Mei Yu Huang: “In China there are no elections…[don’t] take voting for granted.”

Mei Yu Huang first came to the United States from Taishan, China, on the coast of the South China Sea. This conversation was translated by Allen Wong. I came to the United States 22 years ago from Taishan, in Guangdong province. I came looking for a better life. I have three children. My second daughter […]

June 19, 2019

Noi: “As an American I Feel Free—Like I Can Be Myself.”

I was born in a small village in Surin province in Thailand. I first visited the United States 17 or 18 years ago because I fell in love with Bill and I wanted to be with him. We met in Bangkok where I worked as a cook in a hotel restaurant. After we met we […]

January 8, 2019

Ida Soon-ok Hart: “Growing up in America, I didn’t know that I wasn’t a citizen.”

In August 2017, I was driving through downtown Los Angeles and I saw signs at the Convention Center—Oath of Citizenship—with arrows pointing the directions for parking.  I felt a deep sadness that I had never finished my own citizenship process. I told myself not to be afraid and to try again—maybe I would qualify now […]

August 2, 2018

Maribel Hernandez: “I am doing this for my kids.”

My name is Maribel Hernandez and I’m originally from Mexico. My mom brought me to the United States when I was eight years old. I have two kids of my own now; my son is 12-years-old and my daughter is eight-years-old. I want to become a citizen to have more job opportunities. I am doing […]

July 30, 2018

Cesia Gonzalez: “You have to dream big!”

My name is Cesia Gonzalez and I was born in Honduras, but came to the United States from El Salvador in 2013. My husband and I wanted to give our children a better future. I have a ten-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter who was five months old when we arrived. The United States so […]

June 29, 2018