Ease of Naturalization Process Inspires Family to Become Citizens

Detroit New CitizensLast spring, 80 immigrants became United States citizens in Detroit at an oath ceremony hosted by the Detroit New Americans Campaign and the City of Detroit.

Among those newly naturalized citizens was the Al Alwachi family, four individuals who came to the U.S. from war-torn Baghdad, Iraq.

Alalwachi Foud Abdulhussein was the first in his family to pursue citizenship. With the assistance of the Detroit New Americans Campaign and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit (IIMD), the local lead organization, Foud Abdulhussein successfully completed the naturalization process and enrolled in IIMD’s 10-week citizenship course. The course, run in conjunction with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, prepared Foud for his citizenship test.

Foud’s experience with the citizenship process inspired his family to follow suit. Soon, Foud’s wife, Amel Mohammed Abdulmajed, and two daughters, Amel and Farah, applied and passed their citizenship exams.

The Al Alawachi family came to the U.S. to pursue greater safety, security and opportunities, like attending college. However, they felt that their freedoms were limited as lawful permanent residents. By becoming U.S. citizens, they could gain full access to the value and benefits that citizenship offers.

“I chose the United States rather than any other place in the world because I believe in this country’s values,” said Farah, 33, who is currently studying civil engineering at Wayne State University. “We all come here for freedom.”

On May 20, the Al Alawachi family became U.S. citizens at the City Municipal Complex in Detroit. After the ceremony, they posed for a photograph together to commemorate their achievement. In the picture above, Farah (center) holds her Citizenship Certificate and poses next to her father, Foud Abdulhussein (left) and her younger sister, Amel (right), along with the Wojciech Zolnowski (far left), Executive Director of the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit and Robert Sullivan (far right) the Director of Career Development at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit.

Posted on August 10, 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.

Get Citizenship Help

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