USCIS Wants to Let the Public Know How Important Citizenship Is

US Citizenship is an important status, conferring the right to vote, hold public office, and the right to live and work in the US. Millions of Americans have risked their lives so that US citizens today can enjoy these rights and now the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) wants to help raise public awareness about the importance of US naturalization. Director Alejandro Mayorkas of the USCIS announced the Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative in late May 2011. This new initiative will help raise awareness about citizenship.

Part of The Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative efforts will make it easier for new immigrants and immigrant organizations to access USCIS resources for newcomers. The USCIS, through the imitative, wants to make both immigrants and organizations that help immigrants aware of the resources that the USCIS offers in order to make the path to US citizenship easier. These resources are free to use and are a reliable source of information, direct from the USCIS.

Director Mayorkas notes that the new initiative is an attempt to reach out to legal permanent residents and their families about the importance of citizenship. It is also an attempt to reach out to all residents of the US in order to teach them about the importance of citizenship. Recent Department of Homeland Security statistics show that there are about 12.5 million legal permanent residents living in the US, and about 7.9 million of these are eligible for citizenship through US naturalization.

As part of the Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative, the USCIS will use video public service announcements, social networking, digital media, radio messages, and print ads in a number of languages in order to send out the message about US citizenship. The ads, expected to run between May and September of 2011, will inform the public about the importance of citizenship and will remind eligible permanent residents about where they can find resources, educational materials, and more information about applying for citizenship. Immigrants who are interested in learning more about US citizenship can also visit the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center.

This is not the first initiative by the USCIS to raise awareness about US naturalization. The federal government has worked since the early twentieth century to promote the importance of citizenship and to help eligible immigrants work their way through the naturalization application process. Since 2009 alone, the USCIS has help more than 560 information sessions about citizenship, helping more than 32 000 permanent residents.