As Citizenship Week comes to a close, it is worthwhile to remember that naturalization is but one step on the pathway to the larger goal of immigrant integration. Immigrant integration is the creation of something new in the places where we live – a more inclusive community that reflects the needs and wants of all its residents. Immigrant integration takes deliberate and on-going work by both the receiving community and the newcomers, and it requires a community to grow and change as it stretches to allow everyone a chance to access services, make an impact, and participate actively.
On Constitution and Citizenship Day, we honor, not only the newcomers who have and will naturalize, but also the champions who guide them through complex immigration processes and embark on innovative ways to overcome obstacles to immigrant integration.
I believe that dreams come true and that a good dream becomes true life. Without dreams, all we have is reality. Sometimes on our most important dreams, all we can do is give them our best shot, hope for the highest good, and let go. Knowing I could use all the help available, I contacted CLINIC to fulfill my dream in becoming a Citizen of United States of America.
“…I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; … that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
CLINIC has been promoting and facilitating naturalization for more than two decades, and has developed myriad resources on naturalization for our affiliates and the general public. As we kick off our celebration of citizenship this week, today is a great time to recall these resources and highlight a few. The best part is, most of these resources are free!
Our commitment to supporting newcomers is personal and at CLINIC, we are inspired by friends who have overcome numerous obstacles to become naturalized US citizens. Saba Hailu is one such friend, who journeyed from aspiring citizen to new American. Saba’s determination strengthens our resolve to ensure that the foreign-born have access to opportunities for citizenship and civic participation.
Syracuse, New York has a long history as an immigrant gateway city, and was home to many immigrants from Italy, Germany, Ireland, Ukraine, and Russia who arrived in the U.S.
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Contact: Maura Moser, Director of Communications
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Silver Spring, MD (September 19, 2014) - The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) congratulates 14 affiliates that received funding through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fiscal Year 2014 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. Twenty-five percent of the 40 primary grantees are CLINIC affiliates.
Each year on September 17, we come together as a nation of immigrants to celebrate Citizenship Day. This is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of being a U.S. citizen and recognize the many lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in our communities who are on their journey to becoming U.S. citizens.
On September 17th we celebrate Constitution and Citizenship Day across the nation. This observance recognizes not only the signing of the Constitution but also the status of citizenship. In the world of immigration, status can be the difference between wealth and poverty, health and sickness, and admission and deportation.
As we celebrate our country’s birthday and independence on the Fourth of July, many of us will contemplate what it means to be Americans. Being an American for the foreign-born goes beyond the ability to vote in elections or obtain a U.S. passport. Many immigrants already feel American at heart long before they take their first step to becoming naturalized U.S. citizens – a pre-requisite to vote and obtain a passport. Many of them have integrated into their communities long before – going to weekly church services, volunteering in their children’s schools, and paying their taxes.
On March 2, 2014 I had the pleasure of partaking in the Cambia tu Vida Campaign media launch in New York City and experiencing the excitement brewing as community, religious, and government leaders gathered to promote naturalization as a benchmark of integration.
Raised in a tiny village in Galilee, my father, the eldest of 5 children, was raised by loving parents who made a meager living as poor farmers. My mother, who was raised in an orphanage from a young age by a community of Sisters in Jerusalem, married my father at seventeen. During my childhood, my father worked as a mechanic and my mother as a teacher. While our home was filled with love, my parents recognized that their children would have better opportunities for education, advancement, and success in the U.S.
CLINIC's National Capacity Building Project, funded by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Citizenship, has provided technical assistance and funding to four local affiliate agencies to establish new programs in English as a Second Language (ESL)/citizenship education and/or naturalization application assistance.
Left to Right: Martin Gauto, CLINIC, My-Hanh Luu, Elsa Ornelas, Sandra Molina, Oras Mohammed, and Simona Botezatu of Catholic Charities San Bernardino & Riverside Counties in California meeting on October 21, 2013 to discuss preparing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).
On Election Day, it can seem like a burden to wake up early and stand in line at your local polling place, but the ability to vote is a prized benefit of citizenship and an important step in the journey to full integration in the United States. The benefits of citizenship are numerous and the CLINIC network has long advocated naturalization for all eligible permanent residents.