Immigrants have always been an important part of US life; in fact, US immigration is how America was founded. The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and the US government are always creating new initiatives to make US citizenship and US immigration easier for new arrivals. One such initiative was developed in June 2006, when President George W. Bush created the Task Force on New Americans. This task force is designed to allow different government agencies work together in order to help new Americans and immigrants learn about American civics and culture, learn English, and learn anything else needed to take part in American life as Americans.
The Task Force on New Americans includes a committee of eight federal agencies as well as 12 cabinet-level departments. The Task Force on New Americans is considered as part of the Department of Homeland Security. Since 2006, the task force has created many initiatives and has reached many goals:
– The development of the WelcometoUSA.gov web portal, which helps new arrivals in the US access all the information needed to take part in American life. The portal includes, for example, information about volunteer opportunities that can help newcomers take part in American life, and information about English classes so that newcomers can learn the language.
– The development of a Department of State brochure, which is sent to all immigrant visa applicants who successfully get a US visa. These brochures are printed in the applicants’ native language and contain free information about US immigration processes and tips for new immigrants to the US.
– The New Americans Project is an initiative developed by the Task Force on New Americans and the White House Office of USA Freedom Corps to encourage both US citizens and immigrants to take advantage of volunteer opportunities in order to build stronger communities. This project also hopes to help immigrants develop stronger community ties through volunteerism.
– The creation of resources and training to organizations and groups that help immigrants. The Task Force on New Americans has helped train volunteers, teachers, libraries, and organizations so that they can in turn train immigrants in the English language and in US civics. The Task Force on New Americans also provides Civics and Citizenship toolkits, educational materials, and other resources free of charge to organizations helping immigrants. Such groups can access these materials through www.citizenshiptoolkit.gov. The Task Force has also created a number of online resources for immigration groups, including EL/Civics Online and U.S. Civics and Citizenship Online.