Immigrating to the U.S. means navigating a what can be a confusing and sometimes intimidating process to gain a Green Card and then citizenship. But for many it is well worth the effort because it means they are guaranteed to be able to stay and live the life they have now made here in America. The social and economic benefits to allowing immigrants to pursue citizenship is real as they can more fully integrate into our national polity.
One of the many important services World Relief Dupage Aurora provides is citizenship clinics where people are able to apply to become citizens of the U.S. On a rainy Saturday morning a couple weeks ago with a bag full of camera gear I arrived to document this stop of the long road to becoming American. I joined the many waiting with well worn documents in folders for what one man from Burma described as "the great privilege" of becoming a citizen.
At a local church body in Aurora World Relief and volunteers hosted a citizenship clinic and with the help of 16 volunteers from the J. Reuben Clark Law Society assisted 64 immigrants from 18 different countries to apply for U.S. citizenship.
There were English language competency tests, legal screening, identification photos to be taken, fees to be paid, and waiting. Lots of waiting. As I met people in line, entertained kids waiting with the parents, and asked lots of questions, I yet again have more small glimpses into this stop on the process of becoming an American citizen and I am grateful to again be reminded that our nation most fully thrives when we welcome one another.
provides a network to help launch people into their lives in the U.S and they partner with clients to provide many services such as English language training, legal services, youth programming, and employment services are essential. I was grateful to help capture this day in partnership with World Relief to help them tell the story of so many that are seeking to make America their home.