For the your-tax-dollars-at-work file: the government is spending $3.5 million to urge legal immigrants to go all the way and become American citizens.
There’s a cheerful video, overflowing with patriotic diversity.
Not to be grinchy about Legal immigrants who came the correct way, but why should Washington be spending any money at all to convince people to become citizens? It would be better to let those chips fall where they may. Most immigrants, even legal ones, come for the money only and not to become Americans. It’s a regrettable devolution, but as a nation, we should just accept that, and not try to convince the unenthusiastic to pretend they feel something they don’t.
Furthermore, one has to wonder whether the Obama administration is hoping to register a few million more Democrats, since they appear to think long term.
US gov’t to promote citizenship in ad campaign, Associated Press, May 25, 2011
The federal government will run a national advertising campaign to encourage more immigrants to become American citizens and become more integrated into society, officials said on Wednesday.
The multilingual effort aims to reach roughly 7.9 million immigrants who are eligible to file applications to naturalize but haven’t done so. Many immigrants work, raise a family and go to school while holding green cards and only think about citizenship when they need to travel or abroad or when elections roll around and they can’t vote, immigration officials said.
The campaign in print, radio and digital media that will run primarily in California, New York, Florida and Texas between May 30 and Labor Day aims to put citizenship in the forefront of people’s minds and give them personal stories of immigrants who have naturalized.
”You’ve got to create that sense of urgency, and until they’ve reached that sense of urgency, they’ll just coast,” said Nathan Stiefel, division chief of policy and programs for the Office of Citizenship at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
It is the first time the immigration agency has launched a paid advertising campaign to promote American citizenship, said Mariana Gitomer, an agency spokeswoman. The effort – which will cost $3.5 million over three years – is part of an $11 million allotment by Congress to encourage greater immigrant integration.
Immigration experts say many immigrants don’t apply for citizenship because they fear they don’t speak English well enough or because they haven’t felt a pressing need to do so.
About 64 percent of immigrants naturalize and it takes them on average nine-and-a-half years to apply to do so, Stiefel said.
The ad campaign includes portraits of immigrants born in China, Vietnam, Mexico, Dominican Republic and the Philippines who indicate they are ”proud Americans” and share snippets of their personal stories starting a business, educating their families and even running for office.