Partnership Celebrates New Americans Initiative and Flag Day
1) Nation's Mayors Endorse New Americans Initiative
2) Partnership: Naturalizing Citizens and Training Experts
3) Flag Day Celebrations and New American Stories from Across the Country
5) In the News: Partnership's Citizenship Coordinator on CNN and More Media Coverage
The National Partnership for New Americans is proud to announce that the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently passed a resolution supporting a national "New Americans Initiative." The New Americans Resolution (Word) was sponsored by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and co-sponsored by Mayor Rawlings-Blake from Baltimore, MD, Mayor Pierre of North Miami, and Mayor Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, NC. The resolution seeks to promote U.S. citizenship at the federal, state, municipal, and community level and calls for mayors to launch local citizenship initiatives as well. The resolution also urges United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to work toward reducing barriers to citizenship. The Partnership has prepared a template for municipalities and non-profit citizenship advocates to work strategically and collaboratively on creating effective local programs. Mayor Emanuel announced the Chicago New Americans Initiative while hosting the first ever citizenship swearing in ceremony in City Council Chambers with the USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
2) Naturalizing Citizens and Training Experts
The Partnership celebrated completing over 4,200 naturalization applications in the first five months of its citizenship campaign, plus an estimated 1,680 children automatically naturalized from their parents. In addition, Partnership members have held over 26 trainings to help 374 service providers across the country better understand the citizenship process.
From April 30 through May 4, the New York Immigrant Coalition (NYIC) provided a 40-hour substantive immigration law training to help non-attorneys build capacity to apply for Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognition & accreditation. Over 30 people participated in the week-long program which included 14 trainings. Others joined individual sessions bringing the attendance near 50 people depending on the training.
The Coalition for Humane and Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) also provided a paralegal training with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center from June 4 to June 8. 14 service providers were trained in the foundation of immigration law to prepare them to file for accreditation with the BIA. Both trainings were a huge success!
Upcoming BIA Trainings in Masschusetts and Illinois
The Partnership continues expanding its work training service providers and advocates across the country to build capacity in national naturalization services.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center will be providing a 6 day intensive immigration training for service providers from August 22-29, 2012. This training is designed to provide staff at non-for-profit agencies with a training foundation to practice before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Tentatively scheduled for September 10-14, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) will be hosting a week long BIA training. This training is open to service providers, attorneys, law school students, and other interested in immigration law. It is specifically designed to help non-profits apply for BIA recognition and for their staff to apply for partial accreditation, but it is also great for those wanting to brush up on the latest in immigration law and policy. For more info please contact Sarang Sekhavat at email@example.com.
3) Flag Day Celebrations and New American Stories
Partnership members ICIRR and OneAmerica both hosted lively celebrations on Flag Day 2012. On June 14, Uniting America, an ICIRR program that builds connections between immigrants and their non-immigrant neighbors, celebrated Chicago as a "Uniting America" city with food, cultural events, arts, crafts and entertainment. In partnership with the city of Chicago, Uniting America successfully aimed to reclaim Flag Day at Daley Plaza in Chicago. At the day-long event, one of the New Americans Initiative's applicants, Lingran Xu, spoke powerfully about her experience as a New American. She now works with the New Americans Initiative in helping others like herself become citizens. Read her story here!
OneAmerica's Washington New Americans Program hosted a Flag Day Festival in Seattle to celebrate the too-often overlooked holiday and highlight New Americans from all over the world who have chosen this country and the American flag as their own. The June 13 celebration, held in conjunction with the Columbia City Farmers Market, featured New Americans sharing their stories, citizenship resource tables from several local organizations, even a "Test Your Civics Knowledge" game for native born citizens. The new Director of Seattle's Office of Immigrants and Refugee Affairs spoke as well. Watch this 1-minute video to see what went on.
The Partnership launches New American Stories
Also on Flag Day 2012, the Partnership launched New American Stories, a collection of images and stories highlighting some of the people our Become a Citizen Now program has helped naturalize and turn into active U.S. citizens.
Amalia, TIRRC in Tennessee
Amalia fell in love and moved to the United States, where she became a Legal Permanent Resident. Amalia was the first one in line at TIRRC’s April 1, 2012 workshop and became the first community member who received this service.
Amalia, a hard working woman and mother of an 8-year-old boy, is ready to become a citizen in order to fully participate in the civic life of the U.S. Amalia found out about TIRRC's Become a Citizen Now program and just couldn’t miss the opportunity to get assistance in completing all of the paperwork necessary for her naturalization.
Lilian, CHIRLA in California
Lilian Espinoza is a nursing student from Nicaragua who lives in Whittier, California. Lilian is 22 years old and attends Cypress College while working part time. She lives with her mother and younger sister and has been a permanent resident since 2001. She came to CHIRLA's office for assistance with her expiring green card and naturalization and CHIRLA was able to help her with both. She is a student who received financial aid and she qualified for fee waivers for both applications.
4) Register for the 2012 National Immigration Integration Conference
The 2012 National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC 2012) is the signature event of the National Partnership for New Americans. The conference, now in its fifth year, has grown in size, scope, and vision each and every year since 2008. NIIC 2012 is hosted by CASA de Maryland and will be held at the Baltimore Hilton in Baltimore from September 22-25, 2012. Organizers are expecting between 800-1,000 participants and aim to deepen the understanding and strategic thinking about what constitutes successful immigrant integration.
The Naturalization and Civic Engagement track of the NIIC 2012 will be put together with active support of the New Americans Collaborative, CLINIC, NALEO, National Immigration Forum, Carnegie Foundation, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
"We look forward to the National Immigrant Integration Conference," says Joshua Hoyt, Co-chair of the Partnership and ICIRR's Chief Strategy Executive. "We need to make democracy real by understanding the value of citizenship by encouraging the government to look for creative ways to reduce barriers and to encourage people to take the step towards citizenship."
Register for the conference today!
5) In the News: Partnership's Citizenship Coordinator on CNN and Other Media Coverage of the Partnership
The Partnership's Citizenship Coordinator Alaa Mukahhal was interviewed for CNN, Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, and other media about undocumented immigrants and the June 15, 2012 Obama Administration immigration announcement. Alaa qualifies for the new Department of Homeland Security memo that would grant deferred action to DREAM Act eligible youth.
Alaa is fighting for her deportation proceedings in the courts while working legally with a temporary work visa on citizenship for the Partnership and others. The deffered action announcement is projected to affect as many as 800,000 undocumented youth in the country. Watch the Video!
Other Partnership Coverage:
- TIRRC was noted in the Tennessean for their citizenship assistance programs and citizenship workshops: Heidi Hall, Citizenship journey in Tennessee goes smoother with a little help, The Tennessean, May 17, 2012
- The Partnership's "Become a Citizen Now" program was highlighted nationally by the Associated Press: Rodrique Ngowi, Immigrant groups push for naturalization, voter registration ahead of November election, Associated Press, April 21, 2012
- CHIRLA and the Partnership's efforts were the focus of a March NBC Latino article: Sandra Lilley, Groups form national 'citizenship drive, NBC Latino, March 26, 2012
- TIRRC's "Become a Citizen Now" campaign is featured in Chattanooga's Times Free Press: Perla Trevizo, Immigrants eye political power, Times Free Press (Chattanooga), April 30, 2012
- As part of a plan to create municiple New American Innitiatives all across America, Mayor Rahm Emanuel publically commended ICIRR and its New Americans Initiative for its efforts in promoting U.S. citizenship and volunteerism. Find out more in television coverage on Telemundo and Univision or read about it in The Examiner