Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, July 2, 2021
The Biden administration is introducing an unprecedented effort to encourage eligible immigrants to apply for US citizenship, according to a US Citizenship and Immigration Services official.
The effort stems from one of President Joe Biden’s early executive orders that called on federal agencies to develop “welcoming strategies that promote integration, inclusion, and citizenship.” Citizenship and Immigration Services — an agency within the Department of Homeland Security — will release its strategy, a copy of which was shared with CNN, on Friday.
“The idea is to find a whole-of-government way to reach out to people who are able to naturalize,” the Citizenship and Immigration Services official said, adding that there are 9 million people in the US who are lawful permanent residents who may be eligible to apply for citizenship.
That includes, for example, holding naturalization ceremonies at national parks to raise awareness, partnering with the US Postal Service to display promotional posters at Postal Service facilities about becoming a US citizen, and engaging with the Department of Veterans Affairs and veteran service organizations to find ways to educate service members and veterans on citizenship, according to the strategy, titled “Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization.”
Previous administrations have promoted naturalization, the Citizenship and Immigration Services official told CNN, but the forthcoming strategy by the Biden administration tasks additional agencies to work with USCIS to have broader outreach.
Earlier this year, Biden recorded a video that is played at naturalization ceremonies in which he thanks the new US citizens for choosing the United States and invokes his own ancestors who emigrated from Ireland.
“I want to thank you for choosing us and believing that America is worthy of your aspirations,” Biden says in the video.