“Don’t Fear, Apply for Citizenship”

Adiela Vargas has had an exciting week. Last Monday she became a U.S. citizen.

Adiela, her husband and their two sons came to the U.S. from Colombia in search of a better life.

“We came in search of better opportunities,” says Adiela. “There was no work, no opportunity in Colombia.”

Adiela received her green card in 2008. She worked in a factory while her husband repaired vehicles in an auto-collision center. Her husband naturalized some time ago, realizing that becoming a citizen would present him with more benefits and opportunities, and he could be more civically engaged.

He inspired Adiela to do the same.

Last April, Adiela attended a citizenship fair organized by New Americans Campaign partner Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD). She received information about the naturalization process, including the material for the civics test and practice flashcards.

Luis Vega, the citizenship program coordinator at OCCORD, helped Adiela complete her application and connected her to free evening civics classes. Adiela attended these classes every Monday throughout the summer.

Adiela passed her citizenship exam in English on her first try. She’s already looking forward to new opportunities that citizenship presents.

“I’m studying and building skills to start working in the finance sector,” says Adiela. “Citizenship gives you so many possibilities. I really wanted to be civically engaged, and be able to vote. I look forward to voting in November for the first time.”

Her advice for green card holders?

“Citizenship is a great necessity, and a great, great, opportunity,” Adiela says. “If you need help, you can find organizations like the partners of the New Americans Campaign, just as I did. You can get help and support. Don’t fear, and definitely apply for citizenship.”

Posted on September 22, 2016

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More

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