Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! It is the start of a brand-new week, and we are excited to bring you the latest updates in immigration news.
Biden Administration Launches Nationwide Initiative to Promote Citizenship
On July 2, 2021, the Biden administration and the Department of Homeland Security announced a joint nationwide initiative to encourage long time permanent residents to take the plunge and become U.S. Citizens. The President’s campaign known as the Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization, aims to promote naturalization to all who are eligible, consistent with President Biden’s February 2nd Executive Order 14012 “Restoring Faith in our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.”
Through joint efforts, USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Biden administration will work together to empower permanent residents to pursue their citizenship opportunities, by leading community outreach efforts to the more than 9 million estimated green card holders living in the United States.
The Naturalization Working Group (NWG) is the agency that will be primarily responsible for implementing this initiative. The NWG will be tasked with developing strategies to promote naturalization through citizenship education and awareness by establishing partnerships with the local community. The Group maintains the following goals and outcomes to bring the President’s agenda to fruition:
- Raising awareness of the importance of citizenship
- Promoting civic integration and inclusion
- Providing immigrants with opportunities and tools to become fully engaged citizens
- Building community capacity to prepare immigrants for citizenship
- Eliminating sources of fear and other barriers that prevent individuals from accessing available naturalization service and
- Advancing and ensuring equity through the citizenship and naturalization processes, including on the basis of race, disability, language access, national origin, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, providing support to traditionally underserved communities
The nationwide initiative will utilize data to determine naturalization-eligible applicants and reach out to the pool of eligible candidates, by engaging in citizenship public education and awareness campaigns at the community level, engaging in national and community targeted outreach through traditional and social media, engaging in stakeholder engagement, promoting citizenship education and resources for the community, implementing the USCIS Outstanding Americans by Choice (ABC) initiative, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, and entering collaboration and local partnerships.
USCIS will also be offering adult citizenship education training seminars that will discuss the naturalization process and testing. Outreach will also be provided to military service members that will educate military members and their families on the citizenship process for those in the armed forces. Please continue to check the USCIS webpage for information about these seminars or the Department of Defense.
U.S. Passport Policies Offer Flexibility for LBTQI+ community
On June 30, 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an exciting new announcement describing new policy changes to the U.S. Passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad application processes to promote and protect the human rights of the LGBTQI+ community.
Starting immediately, the U.S. Department will begin the process of updating their procedures for the issuance of U.S. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA) to ensure the fair treatment of LGBTQI+ U.S. citizens, regardless of their gender or sex.
As part of these changes the Department will now allow applicants to self-select their gender as “M” or “F” and will no longer require medical certification if an applicant’s self-selected gender does not match the gender on their other citizenship or identity documents. In addition, the agency has begun efforts to add a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a passport or CRBA.
To facilitate the application process for the LGBTQI+ community, the agency has promised to work closely with its interagency partners to ensure as smooth an experience as possible for passport applicants.
With respect to the development of a gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons seeking a passport or CRBA, the Department will provide updates on the process and any interim solutions on their website.
We applaud these government efforts and look forward to seeing more initiatives to benefit our undocumented community and DACA recipients. For more information on these announcements please review our helpful links below.