Wednesday, July 13, 2022
To help demystify the naturalization process and share the life-changing impact of U.S. citizenship, USCIS selected eight community leaders across the United States to connect with aspiring citizens. Newly selected citizenship ambassadors will connect eligible populations with the USCIS mission by:
- Sharing their own experiences with the naturalization process;
- Highlighting available information and resources;
- Emphasizing the advantages of U.S. citizenship;
- Addressing myths and misconceptions; and
- Providing inspiration for others pursuing citizenship.
The eight citizenship ambassadors include:
- Magdalena Alvarado, President, Ser y Hacer Galveston, Galveston, TX;
- Abdirizak Bihi, Executive Director, Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, Minneapolis, MN;
- Myriam Mezadieu, Chief Operating Officer, Catholic Legal Services, Miami, FL;
- Nam Loc Nguyen, Former Director of Immigration and Refugee Department, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Orange County, CA;
- Margarita Rocha, Executive Director, Centro La Familia Advocacy Services, Central Valley, CA;
- Luis Shephard, Community Leader, Boston, MA;
- Dr. Mara Vaughn, Professor, University of North Texas at Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; and
- Pao Yang, Executive Director, President and CEO, The Fresno Center (TFC), Fresno, CA.
Citizenship ambassadors will serve on a voluntary, unpaid basis and coordinate with USCIS staff at the local level to promote and encourage others in their communities to apply for U.S. citizenship. Citizenship ambassadors will assist with outreach to more isolated communities and advise on best engagement strategies and messaging, helping to build trust between USCIS and their communities. The citizenship ambassador initiative was created to support implementation of President Biden’s Executive Order 14012 to promote naturalization, and is guided by the principles of the Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization.
In a press release, USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou announced the agency's citizenship ambassador initiative, saying “The citizenship ambassador initiative is a positive step towards raising awareness of the many benefits of U.S. citizenship and providing tools that help immigrants become successful as they embark on their journey as new citizens and beyond.”