Somali Community Leader Abdirizak Bihi Appoints USCIS Citizenship Ambassador

Abdirizak Bihi, a longtime resident of Minneapolis and chief of the native Somali neighborhood, has been named a Citizenship Ambassador by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Bihi, director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, is one in all eight people throughout the United States chosen for the primary ever citizenship ambassador initiative, whose objective is to leverage partnerships with leaders within the immigrant neighborhood to advertise citizenship. He will function USCIS Citizenship Ambassador to Minneapolis.

“His vision of educating and educating community leaders for civil action and engagement comes directly from the experience of his father, who was imprisoned for seventeen years in Somalia for consistently speaking out on behalf of the community,” mentioned Deborah D. Cannon, a public affairs specialist. at USCIS’s Media Affairs Division, mentioned in a press release.

U.S. citizenship is vital as a result of it opens up new alternatives for immigrants within the United States. According to USCIS, a non-comprehensive checklist of the advantages of citizenship consists of voting rights, straightforward journey with paperwork equivalent to U.S. passports, and eligibility for sure authorities positions that are usually not accessible to non-citizens. But immigrants typically face obstacles that stop them from making use of for citizenship, in accordance with a 2020 research by the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan group that conducts analysis into immigration. Some of the limitations embrace inadequate time to arrange for citizenship talks and excessive value of dealing with charges.

Cannon mentioned the brand new USCIS initiative is designed to attach the greater than 9.1 million authorized residents who could also be eligible to use for naturalization with the assets they should start the method.

The Citizens’ Ambassador Initiative was created by President Joseph R. Biden’s Order 14012 to advertise naturalization. In a press launch, USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou mentioned she believes citizenship is essential to the nation’s financial prosperity and the well-being of immigrant communities. She mentioned the brand new initiative would create alternatives for immigrants to advance their lives.

“The Citizens’ Ambassador Initiative is a positive step toward raising awareness of the many benefits of U.S. citizenship and providing tools to help immigrants succeed when embarking on their journey as new citizens and beyond,” Jaddou mentioned.

Bihi has lived in Minneapolis’ Cedar Riverside neighborhood for 25 years and could be very lively in town’s politics. He ran for a seat in Division 6 of the Minneapolis City Council in 2020 and by particular election in 2021. He has devoted his profession to pushing for political reforms in areas equivalent to housing, financial upward mobility and police reform.

Along with the seven different ambassadors, Bihi will assist aspiring American residents by sharing their experiences of the naturalization course of, reiterating the advantages of citizenship, and serving as a supply of information and inspiration for many who decide to pursue the method.

“I am very humbled to be one of these eight leaders elected as an ambassador for U.S. citizenship,” Bihi mentioned in a press release on his Facebook web page. “[I’m] looks forward to working with all communities. ”

The different seven ambassadors are Magdalena Alvarado, president of Ser y Hacer, Galveston in Galveston, Texas; Myriam Mezadieu, Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Legal Services in Miami, Florida; Nam Loc Nguyen, a former director of the Immigration and Refugee Department in Los Angeles; Margarita Rocha, CEO of Centro La Familia Advocacy Services in California’s Central Valley; Luis Shephard, a neighborhood chief in Boston, Massachusetts; Dr. Mara Vaughn, professor on the University of North Texas at Dallas; and Pao Yang, CEO and President and CEO of the Fresno Center in Fresno, California.

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