Helping Others Achieve Their Citizenship Dreams

Hoang became a U.S. citizen on November 20, 2014.

Hoang became a U.S. citizen on November 20, 2014.

Expressing his gratitude was easy for Hoang Truong when he decided to volunteer for the same organization he once came to for help.

When Hoang arrived in the United States in 2009 he dreamed of one day becoming a citizen. He knew the privileges U.S. citizenship could provide, including the right to vote and travel more freely and greater access to benefits, but he didn’t know how to go about applying.

In the intervening years, Hoang researched his options and learned that getting help from most agencies could cost his family between $50 and $70 per application, amounting to hundreds of dollars in addition to the $680 application fee per person. But then, in 2014, he heard a television announcement that would change his life forever.

The announcement came from San Jose New Americans Campaign partner Asian Law Alliance, and it alerted Hoang about a free local workshop where trained legal service providers were helping with citizenship applications. With less than two hours left in the workshop, Hoang rushed to the offices with his paperwork. When he arrived, a long line of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) already was waiting for help. Despite the crowd, Hoang was able to meet with a volunteer, who even stayed an extra hour to help him fill out his citizenship application and teach him about all of the application components.

“It was really an amazing workshop,” said Hoang. “A volunteer worked with me one-on-one, carefully helping me fill out the application question by question.”

At the end of 2014 Hoang and his family became U.S. citizens. He attributes the achievement of his dream to the help of the Asian Law Alliance. His gratitude has led him to give back to other LPRs in the same situation in which he once found himself.

Hoang now volunteers with Asian Law Alliance, making an impact in the two ways that touched his life the most: through public service announcements about workshops and citizenship application assistance. Hoang has realized that volunteering is not only an act of gratitude, but also an opportunity to show other LPRs that the citizenship process is not as scary or difficult as it may seem.

“When I help LPRs, I feel that I am doing a very meaningful job,” says Hoang. “Every time I help I know I am bringing them close to a dream — the American dream.”

Hoang hopes that more people will volunteer to help LPRs become citizens.

“I remember my aunt once told me that when someone helps you, they do not need you to say ‘thank you,’ but they hope you will help other people like they did,” says Hoang. “I think it’s very important for everyone to volunteer whenever and where they can. Volunteering helps people stay closer, understand each other better and builds a stronger community.”

Posted on April 30, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More