Category: National News

Washington, DC - Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has made clear that we are stronger as a nation when we welcome immigrants and refugees into our communities and harness their entrepreneurial spirit. At its heart, America is and has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigrants and refugees contribute to our country’s social and cultural fabric, and are critical to our country’s continued economic prosperity.  

Today, on Citizenship and Constitution Day, President Obama launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign, a project with nonprofit Civic Nation, to encourage eligible immigrants to take an important step in their American journey and commit to citizenship.  To launch this effort, the President released a video message to encourage eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to commit to citizenship today.

According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 13.3 million LPRs living in the United States, and 8.8 million of them are eligible to apply for citizenship. This includes over 3 million refugees who have resettled here since 1975 from countries that span the globe. Nearly one out of every three eligible individuals obtained LPR status in 1990 or earlier, meaning that many have been part of our communities for decades. But they don’t yet enjoy all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities that come with being a full American citizen.

As a part of his November 2014 executive actions, President Barack Obama established the  White House Task Force on New Americans (“Task Force”) — a government-wide effort tasked with enhancing the integration of immigrants and refugees into our communities. In April 2015, the Task Force released a strategic action plan with a set of concrete steps to help promote immigrant and refugee integration by:

Launching the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign

Today, President Obama launched a national, multilingual public awareness campaign to promote the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of citizenship among eligible LPRs and to build a volunteer corps that will support them throughout the naturalization process. The “Stand Stronger” Campaign aims to break down the barriers for eligible immigrants and refugees to become U.S. citizens. The campaign reflects the belief that we are, and have always been a nation of immigrants and a nation that welcomes those fleeing persecution, in addition to underscoring that immigrants and refugees make us stronger when they are able to set down roots, harness their skills, contribute to our economy, and commit to citizenship. The Campaign is a project of nonprofit Civic Nation, with assistance from the White House and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Campaign was launched in conjunction with community partners and civic leaders across the country and produced by República. The “Stand Stronger” campaign is also working with organizations like the PVBLIC Foundation, an in-kind grant making organization, to harness the power of donated advertising space from leading media companies.

As part of the campaign, the White House is working to engage immigrant- and refugee- serving organizations around the country that provide in-person assistance and legal services to individuals eligible to naturalize; businesses that are providing citizenship workshops and English language classes to their employees; the philanthropic community; and cities and localities that are bringing immigration services to places where immigrants and refugees live and work. To help kick off the campaign, local governments, the business community, and non-profit entities will host over 70 citizenship outreach events in the first week alone. Those efforts will complement activities hosted by the federal government, including 200 naturalization ceremonies that will welcome more than 36,000 new citizens across the country during Constitution Week (September 17-23) and in honor of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17).

Efforts to Promote Citizenship

Launching the campaign is part of a comprehensive effort by the White House Task Force on New Americans to ensure that eligible LPRs have the tools and support needed to apply for U.S. citizenship. It complements existing efforts to provide resources to eligible immigrants and refugees as well as to immigrant- and refugee-serving organizations, municipal governments, and other local partners. And it includes new commitments announced by the federal government today:

Examples of commitments being announced today by the private sector in support of “Stand Stronger” include: