Promoting Naturalization is now a priority of the U.S. Government!

Now I know why so many of my clients have had naturalization interviews over the last few months. According to the USCIS Naturalization Policies Fact Sheet published in June 2021, USCIS processed over 180,000 naturalization applications between March and April 2021 which has allowed them to return to pre-pandemic processing times. Congratulations to all my clients who are now “Americans by Choice”. 

On July 2nd, USCIS published their Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization. This began with: Our Nation is enriched socially and economically by the presence of immigrants, and we celebrate with them as they take the important step of becoming U.S citizens.

An executive order in February established the Naturalization Working Group (NWG) which is made up of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Education, Health and Human Services, State, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Defense, Justice, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and the Social Security Administration.  This is all hands-on deck approach is so welcome. The strategy is to promote naturalization through citizenship education and awareness and by building capacity and expanding partnerships. For those who wish to read the July 2nd document, it can be found here.

One of the parts of the strategy is the USCIS Outstanding Americans by Choice (ABC) Initiative which recognizes the outstanding achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens. “Through civic participation, professional achievement, and responsible citizenship, recipients of this honor have demonstrated their commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans” One of the ABC award recipients was recognized at a July 2nd Naturalization Ceremony at the White House. Sandra Lindsay came to the US from Jamaica at the age of 18 and naturalized 11 years later. She graduated from nursing school and then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and a doctorate in health sciences.  She is now the Director of Patient Care Services for Critical Care at the Long Island Jewish Medication Center, Northwell Health Washington D.C. When she first heard that companies were working to create a vaccine for COVID-19, she told her friends and family that she would be the first in line to take it. In December 2020, she did become the first person in the US to get the vaccine outside of clinical trials!

Many of us in South Florida have been blessed by the care of nurses from Jamaica and other countries. I am among those – my mother was cared for by Jamaican nurses during her last two years, so I am grateful to them and other Americans by Choice who have lovingly cared for our ailing family members. 

To see other outstanding American by Choice Recipients you may go to the USCIS website page at This has left me wondering which clients I have represented that should receive this award.

Linda M Kaplan
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