By: James Porter
Over 8 years ago, Abeba arrived in the United States with a visitor’s visa at New York’s JFK Airport, en route to Washington, DC. She came by herself from Ethiopia leaving behind her family, and everything she knew. Abeba was granted asylum in 2004 and later received a green card in 2005. With the help of distant cousins, she began to settle into a community with other Ethiopian nationals in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Abeba currently works for CLINIC in the Office of Finance and Operations. She became a citizen last Friday, July 8th in Baltimore, Maryland with family, friends, and the extended CLINIC family proudly looking on.
By: Allison Posner*
With close to 1.5 million individuals currently in active service, the United States has the second largest military in the world. Thousands of the individuals – nearly 8% – who serve and protect our country every day were not born in it. Immigrants have a strong and proud tradition of military service to the United States. As of June 30, 2009, there were 114,601 foreign-born individuals serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Eighty-one percent of these are naturalized U.S. citizens and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced earlier this week that in fiscal year 2010, it added the greatest number of military naturalizations the U.S. has seen in over five decades. Between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, USCIS granted citizenship to 11,146 members of the U.S. armed forces. The ceremonies took places all across the United States as well as in 22 countries where service men and women are stationed. This is the highest number of naturalizations since 1955 and a six percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
Photo Credit - usmilitary.com
By: Allison Posner*
Out of many, one. This phrase was suggested by the committee appointed by Congress to design a seal for the United States of America on July 4, 1776. Yesterday, President Obama reminded us of this motto found on our nation’s coins in his first speech about immigration since taking office last January. The President stated that “being an American is not a matter of blood or birth. It’s a matter of faith. It’s a matter of fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear.”
Over the past month, the debate over health care has heated up as both sides argue about how immigration plays into reform. In addition, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) discussed the possibility of increasing the fees to apply for citizenship and a U.S. citizen was deported twice after the FBI ignored evidence of his citizenship. These stories and others proved to be popular among readers of CLINIC’s daily Immigration News Briefings. The following are the top five most read stories for the month of September:
Most of us don’t think about our citizenship status. We claim our country of birth proudly. That pride is doubled for immigrants who wait eagerly to apply for citizenship and naturalize as American citizens. There is no doubt it is a moment to remember.