Photo: Federal Immigration Agency to Launch Campaign Promoting Naturalization Application
Wanting to encourage the millions of eligible immigrants in the U.S. to become citizens, the federal government will be running a national advertising campaign, which they hope will assist immigrants in becoming more integrated into society.
The campaign is directed at the 7.9 million immigrants able to file application to naturalize, but have yet to do so. Immigration officials said most immigrants with green cards only worry about citizenship when they need to travel abroad or when they wish to vote in elections, but cannot.
The division chief of policy and programs for the Office of Citizenship at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Nathan Stiefel, said, “You’ve got to create that sense of urgency, and until they’re reached that sense of urgency, they’ll just coast.”
The USCIS spokeswoman said that the multilingual campaign will be the first paid advertising campaign from the immigration agency to promote American citizenship. It will cost $3.5 million spread of three years, and is part of an $11 million allotment from Congress meant to promote integration by immigrants.
On average, it takes about 9.5 years for an immigrants to apply for naturalization, with about 64 percent of immigrants taking the test and passing.
Immigration experts have noted that some immigrants don’t apply because they worry that their English in not good enough, or they simply have not felt an urgent need to. However, the experts added that naturalization in an important step in completely integrating into society and allows immigrants to be a part of the political process by actually being able to vote.
Last year, over 700,000 immigrants filed to become citizens of the U.S., which is a 25 percent jump from the year before.
The ad campaign will be in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, and will hopefully inform those who don’t know much about the process or don’t have the materials for it where to get more information.