USCIS Director Addresses New Americans Campaign Partners at Annual Conference

USCIS Director León Rodríguez joined campaign partners at the Univision phone bank

Director León Rodríguez joined campaign partners at the Univision phone bank

This week, more than 180 New Americans Campaign partners are gathered in Dallas for the annual United for Citizenship Practitioners Conference.

The conference began on Wednesday as attendees arrived to volunteer at a phone bank with the local Univision affiliate. Volunteers answered phone calls from 4:30 to 10 p.m. and addressed questions from lawful permanent residents (LPRs) about the naturalization process and an upcoming workshop on Saturday where LPRs will receive free help in completing their citizenship applications.

Attendees were also greeted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez, who dined with the volunteers and learned more about the Univision phone bank.

Rodríguez joined the Naturalization Working Group meeting on Thursday

USCIS Director León Rodríguez joined the Naturalization Working Group meeting on Thursday

On Thursday, Rodríguez participated in the conference during a meeting with the Naturalization Working Group, the policy arm of the New Americans Campaign, and later as the keynote speaker during the welcome session.

“Citizenship above all is about holding people like me accountable,” said Rodríguez, who has served in this role since July 2014 and has made himself available to New Americans Campaign partners and other immigration practitioners since that time. His visit to the conference is one example.

During his speech, Rodríguez addressed the benefits and motivations for LPRs to become U.S. citizens.

“Part of it is the right to vote,” he said. “A lot of it is the ability to travel more easily, to bring relatives from other countries and [to] access more jobs, particularly ones in the federal government that you can’t get if you’re not a United States citizen.”

Rodríguez's keynote speech at the United for Citizenship conference

Rodríguez’s keynote speech at the United for Citizenship conference

Rodríguez also provided attendees with an update from Washington about USCIS initiatives across the country, including the Citizenship Public Awareness Initiative potential online reminders about citizenship eligibility and electronic filing, as well as credit card processing of the naturalization fee, which will begin next week.

Rodríguez encouraged New Americans Campaign partners to continue to make the case for citizenship and share the concrete and spiritual reasons why people should make the choice to become U.S. citizens.

“You should love the country and culture that you came from,” Rodríguez said. “There is a way to maintain your allegiance to your culture, your language, the land that you came from and still make the choice to say, ‘This is my home, not just for myself but for my children, for my spouse, for my community and my extended family.'”

Watch these highlights from his keynote address to campaign partners:

A full recap of the United for Citizenship Practitioners Conference will be available next week.

Posted on September 11, 2015

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