Resources & Helpful Links

Immigration & Civics: What Every American Should Know is an initiative by the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. This initiative was created to ensure that the views, experiences, and knowledge of immigrant communities are a central part of narratives about American identity – and to remind native-born Americans that immigrants have keen insights about how things really work in America. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children represent more than a quarter of the overall population of the United States. Immigrants are our neighbors, colleagues, schoolmates, and friends. It is impossible to talk about “We the People” without talking about immigrants. However, debates about cultural literacy and the content of American identity typically leave out and ignore immigrant voices and experiences. We intend to address that.

Over the course of a year, the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program team traveled around the country to meet with advisers who represent new Americans from all walks of life. We collected learning in two directions, based on the fundamental questions: What knowledge do all Americans need access to, so they can understand immigrant experiences in America holistically? And what knowledge do new Americans need access to, to navigate and acclimate to life in America?

We synthesized key takeaways for both new and longtime Americans into a report. To supplement this report, we asked our advisers to share recommended resources. We have compiled those materials below. The items below are for both new and longtime Americans — resources by local and national organizations, tools for financial empowerment, civic participation guides, background reading, and more.

Do you have a resource that you would like us to add? Please email Seth Henderson at [email protected]

American Democracy Project
Is a network of more than 250 state colleges and universities focused on public higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. ADP was established in 2003 as a nonpartisan initiative of AASCU in partnership with The New York Times.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice for Voting Right
Rooted in the dreams of immigrants and inspired by the promise of opportunity, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) advocates for an America in which all Americans can benefit equally from, and contribute to, the American dream. Our mission is to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.

Carnegie Corporation
Carnegie supported the institutions people need to succeed; in his words, “ladders on which the aspiring can rise.” Citizenship for Carnegie was not an exclusive privilege, but another ladder—an ongoing and inclusive process that would help new Americans become full members of the country’s civic and economic life. 

Citizen University
Is a national platform for fostering responsible and empowered citizenship through activation, communication, and education. We believe in the promise of a nation where more people are more literate in civic power — and more steeped in a sense of civic character. We are a recognized leader and innovator in the field of civic engagement, working at the intersection of the public, private, and independent sectors, to democratize the practice of civic power.

Citizenshipworks
Is an online service that guides you safely through every step of your citizenship application. With a Citizenshipworks account, you can fill out your entire application online. If there are any potential problems, we will connect you to the legal help you need.

Ciudadania Centers
Centers that provide a variety of citizenship services such as help with the N-400 Citizenship application or basic civics classes. Centers listed here may provide additional immigration services – inquire about what additional services they provide upon contacting them.

Close Up Foundation
Is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan citizenship education organization. Founded in 1970, Close Up connects individuals of all ages to their communities and institutions through a variety of educational programs and products. By building partnerships with the education community, the private and philanthropic sectors, and all branches and levels of government, Close Up promotes civic participation in meaningful and dynamic ways.

CNN: How Refugees Help Their Communities
“Refugee” is a loaded word. It conjures up images of traumatized people living in crowded camps and inevitably leads to major rifts in national politics. The current debate centers on “Will refugees be allowed in our country?” But this short-term focus often obfuscates a more fundamental one — “What happens to refugees once they arrive in communities and become, simply, our neighbors?”

Core Knowledge Foundation
The mission of the Core Knowledge Foundation is to advance excellence and equity in education for all children. To achieve this mission, we offer detailed curricular guidance and materials to schools, teachers, parents, and policy makers—to anyone who believes, as we do, that every child in a diverse democracy deserves access to enabling knowledge.

Define American
Define American is a nonprofit media and culture organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America.

Fuente Credito
Brought to you by UnidosUS, is an online credit application designed to provide you fast and personalized financing options. After you enter basic personal information, FuenteCredito will match you with lenders and see if you qualify you for a loan. These affordable loans are provided by responsible financial institutions that have products to help you achieve your financial goals.

George W. Bush Institute
Through our three Impact Centers — Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda — we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

Illinois Coalition For Immigrant and Refugee Rights

ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.

Immigration Policy Lab
By using large datasets, creative research designs, and cutting-edge analytical tools, we bring new evidence to bear on the urgent problems practitioners face. By guiding the people who set public policy, as well as those who directly serve immigrant communities, our research can inspire solutions and ultimately improve countless lives. 

Immi
Helps immigrants in the U.S. understand their legal options. Our online screening tool, legal information, and referrals to nonprofit legal services organizations are always free to use. Immi was created by the Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net, two nonprofit organizations dedicated to increasing access to justice for low-income immigrants.

Immigrantinfo.org
Is a collaborative project, sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations (SCC OIR) and the South Bay Consortium of Adult Education (SBCAE). This unique partnership is creating new connections between immigration/citizenship service providers and the adult education providers that are helping newcomers through access to English, literacy, life skills, vocational training, employment assistance and a path to higher education. Working together, these partners can lead immigrants and their families to achieve higher levels of civic participation, financial security and social comfort. 

League of Women Voters
We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate. We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy.

The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.

Mission Asset Fund
We are a nonprofit organization on a mission to create a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families.

NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading 501(c) (3) non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

National Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network
This dynamic and influential network of organizations and higher education institutions will help to fulfill a bold national agenda that will move civic learning from the periphery to the center of student learning.

National Partnership for New Americans
NPNA exists to leverage the collective capacity and resources of member organizations and the communities they represent. Members consists of the country’s largest and most powerful immigrant serving organizations, have fought on the front lines of the immigrant rights movement. NPNA’s strategy is to put immigrant organizations to the center of the national conversation about immigrant integration and build their capacity to deliver quality and empowering services by, with, and for new Americans.

Prince William County Public Schools
PWCS is often asked by education officials to share its innovative programs. PWCS led state efforts to develop the Standards of Learning (SOL) for science and was the first school division in Virginia to restructure its curriculum. It also was the first to develop its own performance tests. As a result, the state followed the PWCS model for the SOL testing program.

Ran Abramitzky
Is Associate Professor of Economics at Stanford University. His research is in economic history and applied microeconomics, with focus on immigration and income inequality. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The Balance
Financial empowerment doesn’t have to be complicated or scary, and it can help you achieve amazing things. The Balance is home to experts who know what they’re talking about, but don’t assume that you know your dividends from your distributions. They’re here to deliver clear, practical advice that will strengthen your lifelong relationship with money, and help you spend smarter, invest well, and build a more secure future.

The New Americans Campaign
Led by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the New Americans Campaign is a diverse nonpartisan national network of respected immigration organizations, legal services providers, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, foundations and community leaders. The Campaign transforms the way aspiring citizens navigate the path to becoming new Americans. It is committed to connecting lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to trusted legal assistance and critical information that simplifies the naturalization process.

UnidosUS

Since 1968, UnidosUS—formerly known as NCLR—has remained a trusted, nonpartisan voice for Latinos. We serve the Hispanic community through our research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts, as well as in our program work in communities nationwide. And we partner with a national network of nearly 300 Affiliates across the country to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Welcome to the United StatesThis comprehensive guide, Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, contains practical information to help you settle into everyday life in the United States. It also contains basic civics information that introduces you to the U.S. system of government. You can download free copies in 14 languages.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Learners
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services: Community Based Organizations
Community-based organizations, including faith-based, service-based, and fraternal organizations, play an important role in supporting immigrants through the naturalization process, which is an impactful form of community service that strengthens our nation. Organizations can get involved in local citizenship preparation efforts in a variety of ways, such as offering classes or providing space for citizenship and English classes, participating in a naturalization ceremony, or holding an event to promote and celebrate the meaning and importance of U.S. citizenship.

U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace.

USA Learns
A free website for adults to learn English and prepare for U.S. citizenship. Here you can practice English speaking, reading, writing, listening, grammar, vocabulary and more. Now, you can even prepare for your naturalization interview to become a U.S. citizen!

Virginia Civic Engagement Table
The Virginia Civic Engagement Table strengthens and connects Virginia’s progressive nonprofit organizations and activists and acts as a hub for the larger progressive community. We believe our Commonwealth works best when every voice is heard. Our partners work together to advance equality, justice, and opportunity, to win shared policy victories and strive to engage underrepresented communities in the democratic process.

Welcoming America
Launched in 2009, Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with one in eight Americans living in a Welcoming Community. Our award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is beginning to scale globally. A non-profit, non-partisan organization, Welcoming America is proud to support the many diverse communities and partners who are leading efforts to make their communities more vibrant places for all.

Welcoming America: Network
Welcoming America’s national network helps nonprofit and government partners transform their communities into more welcoming places for all people, including immigrants. Participating members can connect with peers to share ideas and tools, and receive recognition for their efforts.