Naturalization Working Group: Policy Recommendations for the White House Task Force on New Americans

As part of its work to reduce barriers to naturalization, the National Immigration Forum (Forum) coordinates the Naturalization Working Group along with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. The Naturalization Working Group is made up of national and local organizations committed to helping legal permanent residents become American citizens. To complement the work of the New Americans Campaign, the Naturalization Working Group strives to improve federal policies and practices related to naturalization and to educate legislators and policymakers about the need to address barriers to naturalization. The Naturalization Working Group’s expertise derives from its multiple member organizations that have significant experience in promoting naturalization and in assisting newcomers with the U.S citizenship process.

The Naturalization Working Group sent a letter with a set of policy recommendations to the White House Task Force on New Americans (Task Force) on February 9, 2015. The Task Force was established by President Barack Obama on November 21, 2014 to develop a coordinated federal strategy to better integrate new Americans into communities. The Task Force is an interagency effort to identify and support state and local efforts at integration that are working to consider how to expand and replicate successful models. The Task Force will engage with community, business and faith leaders, as well as state and local elected officials, and will help determine additional steps the U.S. can take to ensure its programs and policies are effectively serving new Americans.

Naturalization Working Group’s recommendations are aimed at promoting immigrant integration priorities the Naturalization Working Group would like to see enacted throughout the Federal government in the near future. Recommendations of the Naturalization Working Group include ideas for making naturalization more accessible and affordable and promoting naturalization across the U.S. Additional recommendations include establishing a White House Office on New Americans to ensure the coordination of federal agencies’ policies on immigrant integration, expanding current workforce training programs, improving education for English-language learners, and expanding opportunities for immigrant and refugee small business owners and entrepreneurs. See the full text of the letter here.

Implementing these recommendations will lead to the continuation of a welcoming society to all newcomers into the United States, and ensure that the federal government, working with state and local governments, will play a critical role in developing policies in the area of immigrant integration.

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