Initiative To Promote US Citizenship

June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

The USCIS has started a campaign that focuses on promoting United States Citizenship. The campaign is aimed at urging the 12 million odd permanent residents (green card holders) in the US to become citizens. The importance of the campaign is highlighted by the fact that, perhaps for the first time the USCIS has launched a paid advertising campaign to promote American citizenship.

This campaign consists of advertisements on radio, TV, print media and Internet with messages in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and English. It is mainly targeted at major US states where there are many green card holders,California, New York, Florida and Texas, for instance. The initiative emphasizes mainly on the awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of being a US citizen. It also throws light on the free naturalization preparation resources available to green card holders.

At present, there are 12.5 million green card holders in the US, and in that a size able 8 million Green Card holders are eligible to file the citizenship form. Mainly, green card holders want to live and work in the US permanently, and they can do that with a permanent resident status itself. This is the main reason why eligible green card holders do not run for citizenship. However, others things they are not aware of is that, citizenship gives them the benefit of voting, getting a US passport to travel without restrictions, obtain better jobs. Studies also reveal that people who become citizens earn more money too. It is an important step and a proud moment in fully integrating into a new society as a US citizen. You can vote, serve on a jury and get more involved in the political process.

Per USCIS, last year more than 700,000 green card holders applied to become US citizens, a significant 25% increase from the previous year. Green Card holders living in the US for 5 years, show good moral character as well as having the ability to pass an English and civics tests can apply for Naturalization. These alone aren’t enough to qualify. There are many other eligibility requirements that one needs to fulfill in order to qualify. USCIS’ main aim through this campaign is to increase awareness of the rights, responsibilities, and importance of US citizenship. USCIS is also keen in increasing the understanding of the naturalization process and requirements and create awareness of available citizenship preparation resources. Another point the USCIS wishes to drive is to educate eligible permanent residents about the steps they need to take while applying and preparing for the naturalization process.

The campaign advertisements have professional actors characterizing immigrant stories that focus on the diverse backgrounds of immigrants (past and present). The stories also make prominent, many of the motivating factors green card holders have stated as common reasons for going for US citizenship.

From the early 1900s, the government has been focusing on promoting an awareness of citizenship among immigrants to get naturalized. The present initiative continues and builds upon those efforts and supports the mission of the USCIS. Since July 2009, USCIS has reached out to more than 32,000 green card holders and potential naturalization applicants at nearly 560 naturalization information sessions through USCIS field offices, local community groups and immigrant-serving organizations.

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