If you happened to fly Southwest Airlines in January, and perused the inflight journal Southwest The Magazine, you would have met Anggie Fernandez. Anggie works with our New Americans Campaign partner, Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, in North Carolina, and the feature, titled In the Beginning, highlights the stories of “14 achievers who dared to start anew.”
Anggie, previously a lawyer in Peru, became a United States citizen last April. She shared that the hardest thing for an immigrant like herself is to rebuild life from the ground up, “The most important thing I had to understand is that if you are going to achieve new goals, you have to start again. In the beginning, I didn’t want to do law anymore. But one thing led to another and I’m back in the legal field.” She goes on to say that she has assumed a “civic responsibility that is consistent with the ideals of this nation.” It is very inspiring, but only tells part of the story. The short piece does not explain that Anggie is now a Department of Justice accredited legal representative. Working with Catholic Charities in Charlotte, she is devoted to helping other lawful permanent residents follow in her footsteps to become U.S. citizens.
Anggie’s interview came about as part of the New Americans Campaign’s “Red, White & Blue: Time for Citizenship” initiative. The goal is to team up with airlines, airports and port authorities to reach travelers and promote citizenship. There are now multi-lingual public service announcements at the Atlanta airport and the Seattle-Tacoma airport, and naturalization workshops held at the San Francisco International Airport, among others. Green-card holding travelers waiting in airports or waiting for take off are a perfect audience for the message that New Americans Campaign partners provide trustworthy legal assistance to lawful permanent residents who want to complete their own journeys to becoming U.S. citizens.
Anggie was delighted to support this effort. If she could have added to her Southwest Airlines magazine spotlight, she says she would have pointed out the benefits of citizenship. “Every time I have a client in my office, I encourage them to apply for citizenship. I mention that, as a citizen, they can register to vote, apply for federal jobs, and you can travel more easily to visit your home countries.” That’s exactly the message that the “Red, White & Blue: Time for Citizenship” initiative is hoping will take flight.