Sara — Persevering for Citizenship

At 16 years old, Sara came to the United States with her sister, in search of a more promising future.

She enrolled in high school in Dallas, and quickly set about tackling the challenges of acclimating to a new country and language.

Yet, those weren’t the only challenges she would face in her new home – she found herself in an abusive relationship, pregnant and, in a few years, the mother of three children.

Though her journey was long and arduous, she beat the odds and, in 2005, became a permanent resident. She recently became eligible to apply for citizenship.

For a single working mother with three children, becoming a citizen presented a real challenge –after all, naturalization requires time and money. Her family and friends began encouraging her to take that step and, when faced with the choice of replacing her green card or applying for citizenship, Sara chose citizenship.

She visited our partners at Catholic Charities of Dallas as a woman no longer defined by her past, but confident and eager to begin the process of naturalization, and ready to tackle her future. The New Americans Campaign and Catholic Charities of Dallas helped her navigate the citizenship process and save money in the process.

When asked if she believes someone should apply for citizenship or not, Sara offers this simple yet sound advice: “If you can buy material things, you can spend the money on becoming a citizen.”

For Sara, this final achievement is worth more than she ever imagined. On the day of her oath ceremony, Sara was filled with an array of emotions. She reminisced of the day she crossed the border with her sister and somberly wished that she was there, too. 

Then, with a smile, she talked about the stability and promise that citizenship will help her family attain in the country she calls home.

Posted on January 28, 2014

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