In December, the White House Task Force on New Americans released a progress report detailing the status of recommendations the Task Force published in April 2015. According to the report, nine of the recommendations pertaining to citizenship and civic engagement have been completed. The remaining four are in progress.
Citizenship Outreach Efforts
On Sept. 17, the Obama administration launched a citizenship awareness campaign, “Stand Stronger,” in partnership with Civic Nation. According to a White House fact sheet, the campaign is working with República, an ad agency, and the Pvblic Foundation, a nonprofit media organization, to obtain donated advertising space.
The Stand Stronger website contains links to naturalization resources, a link to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Citizenship Class Locator, and messages to encourage immigrants to apply for citizenship, including this video narrated by President Obama.
Another initiative, the Presidential Ambassadors for Citizenship and Naturalization, consists of prominent Americans in business, art and civic life who will encourage immigrants to become citizens. One of the ambassadors, restaurateur and chef José Andrés, is featured in this citizenship promotional video.
In July, USCIS launched its own Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Campaign, first targeting digital media markets in California, New York, Florida and Texas, and expanding to the 10 states in which 75 percent of the country’s legal permanent residents live. On its webpage dedicated to the outreach effort, USCIS has print ads, video and radio PSAs and outreach materials available for download.
Partial Fee Waiver Under Consideration
Another recommendation of the Task Force was for USCIS to consider partial fee waivers for citizenship. Currently, as part of an ongoing review of fees charged for immigration benefits, USCIS is considering the possibility of partial fee waivers for low-income immigrants who may not meet the income threshold for a fee waiver, but for whom the naturalization fee is still a significant burden. The plan is to complete the fee study and publish proposed new fees by the middle of this year. Those new fees should be finalized by the beginning of fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016).
The complete Task Force report covers progress made on other recommendations, including naturalization-related, made to facilitate federal action on immigrant integration. It can be found here.