President Joe Biden‘s administration is launching an effort to encourage eligible immigrants to apply for citizenship. The effort would meet the requirements of one of Biden’s earliest executive orders.
In February, Biden signed an “Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.” The order represents an about-face from the more hardline policies of the Trump administration, which sought to restrict immigration.
“Consistent with our character as a Nation of opportunity and of welcome, it is essential to ensure that our laws and policies encourage full participation by immigrants, including refugees, in our civic life; that immigration processes and other benefits are delivered effectively and efficiently; and that the Federal Government eliminates sources of fear and other barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing government services available to them,” the order reads.”
It adds: “The Federal Government should develop welcoming strategies that promote integration, inclusion, and citizenship, and it should embrace the full participation of the newest Americans in our democracy.”
Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, will soon release its strategy.
“The idea is to find a whole-of-government way to reach out to people who are able to naturalize,” a Citizenship and Immigration Services official said, noting that there are 9 million people in the country who are lawful permanent residents who may be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Part of the agency’s strategy would entail raising awareness by holding naturalization ceremonies at national parks. The agency would also partner with the United States Postal Service (USPS) “to display promotional posters at Postal Service facilities about becoming a US citizen” as well as engage 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,” according to CNN, which broke the story.
“USCIS remains committed to empowering immigrants to pursue citizenship along with the rights and opportunities that come with it,” USCIS Acting Director Tracy Renaud said in a statement to CNN. “There is no greater testament to the strength of America than our willingness to encourage others to join us as U.S. citizens as we work together to build a more perfect union.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.