Harrah’s Rincon: Employee Participant Testimonial

Integration Programs Associate

April 28, 2017

As a newcomer to a community, the right to vote is paramount to community integration. Through the act of voting, new members discover unity with locals in advocating for positive community change, from the education system to the local economy. For many immigrants, voting serves as strong motivation to gain citizenship. Emilio Nuñez is no exception.

Nothing would make Emilio feel more “American” than voting for the president of the United States. In a recent interview, Emilio exclaimed:

“I want to become a citizen in order to have the right to vote, but I have never had the opportunity to apply!”

Due to financial restraints, language barriers, and balancing work and family, applying for U.S. citizenship can be so overwhelming that many immigrants, like Emilio, don’t know where to start. Fortunately, over 230 businesses across the U.S. are mitigating these barriers to citizenship through partnerships with New American Workforce. These partnerships bring naturalization workshops to the workplace, providing eligible employees with accurate information as well as one-on-one legal services, thereby reducing associated fees.

In San Diego, one of New American Workforce’s partners is Harrah’s Rincon, Emilio’s employer. Located 50 miles north of Mexico, Emilio’s country of origin, Harrah’s Rincon has offered naturalization workshops since 2014, assisting nearly 100 employees with their U.S. citizenship application. For the past 5 years, Emilio has worked as a room attendant at Harrah’s Rincon, and in August 2016, attended a naturalization workshop at his worksite. Emilio found the workshop to be very helpful, clear and inexpensive, which collectively empowered him to submit his U.S. citizenship application. Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education (UURISE) collaborated with the program to provide legal services.

Today, Emilio awaits to hear acceptance of his application. Of all the citizenship benefits, Emilio is most eager to cast his first ballot in the United States. Thanks to Harrah’s Rincon’s partnership with New American Workforce, this dream is close to becoming a reality.