Mayorkas reminded us of courageous individuals like Gerda Weissmann Klein –a humanitarian, author, human rights activist, Holocaust survivor, and a proud naturalized citizen. Mrs. Weissmann-Klein was a recipient of the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and was also honored by USCIS as an Outstanding American by Choice – an honor bestowed upon naturalized U.S. citizens who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to this country.
As the federal agency that administers naturalization and ensures the integrity and efficiency of the citizenship process, USCIS is proud to have provided tens of thousands of people nationwide with information on eligibility, testing, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. Last year, USCIS’s Citizenship and Integration Grant Program provided nearly $8.1 million to 78 community organizations in 27 states to support citizenship education programs and naturalization application services for lawful permanent residents.
And earlier this year, Mayorkas and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa partnered to debut a first-of-its-kind Immigrant Integration pilot program aimed at strengthening citizenship efforts in L.A., a city that is home to an estimated 2.3 million lawful permanent residents eligible for citizenship. Through proactive citizenship awareness, education, and outreach activities, Mayorkas hopes to replicate this first-of-its-kind collaborative effort in other cities across the country.
“As a nation grounded in the fundamental value that all people are created equal, our unifying promise of citizenship has allowed people of all backgrounds, whether native or foreign-born, to have an equal stake in the future of this nation, “said Mayorkas. “Citizenship solidifies the inclusive vision of what America stands for: a nation united by the common ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy.“