Carlos Munoz-Acevedo is the USCIS program manager for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Photo by Steve Brooks)

Post assists in citizenship efforts

Since its inception, The American Legion has been a leader in mentoring candidates for U.S. citizenship. That proud history is one of the reasons Horace Orr Post 29 in Marietta, Ga., met with officials from the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on May 20, in an effort to involve Legionnaires in the local naturalization process. For outgoing Post Commander Amador Rodriguez Jr., it’s personal. “We all know that immigration is a hot issue,” said Rodriguez, a Navy retiree. “There are five to six people I know right now who are not citizens of this country, but who are serving this country in the military. What I’m hoping is that something like what we’re doing here is going to help people like them become citizens.” Carlos Munoz-Acevedo, USCIS program manager for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, attended the meeting with Joe Kernan, USCIS’s District 8 community relations officer. “We think traditional civic organizations like the Legion are great to lead these efforts,” Acevedo said. “They have a great number of volunteers. They believe in patriotic ideals. The Legion is one of those, and they were the first to express strong interest in doing this.”Munoz and Kernan explained the naturalization process with about a dozen Legionnaires who attended the meeting. Each step in the journey toward U.S. citizenship was explained. A list of questions that appear on the citizenship exam was also provided. Hopefully, the post can begin to conduct outreach efforts to the legal immigrant community, including co-sponsoring citizenship information workshops and study groups. “It doesn’t end today,” Munoz told the veterans. “We will be working with you enough for you to start small – maybe have a program (in place) in a couple of months, see how that works out and learn from that.” Rodriguez is optimistic. “I think we have a good group here, and I think we can get something in place, hopefully in the next month or so,” he said. “This is important.”