Tuesday, November 30, 2010

**NEW** I-912, Request for Fee Waiver


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is funded largely by application fees. However, the USCIS knows that some people cannot pay their application fees.

If you want USCIS to consider waiving the fee for your application, you must complete Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

When you request a fee waiver, you must clearly show that you cannot pay the fee.

USCIS officers will look at each case's facts to decide if the fee should be waived. Each case is different and will be judged on the case's facts.

You may use Form I-912 to request a fee waiver for any USCIS services, including Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

For further info, visit:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

White House White Board: Your Healthcare Dollar



Wh.gov: White House White Board: Your Healthcare Dollar

Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of the Office of Health Reform at the White House breaks down new rules will make our health care marketplace more transparent and ensure you get the best value for your premium dollars. They are just one of the many parts of the Affordable Care Act that are already making our health care system stronger.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

US Holiday Travelers Face New Security at Nation's Airports



VOAVideo: US Holiday Travelers Face New Security at Nation's Airports

As millions of Americans travel during the country's Thanksgiving holiday, they face new heightened security procedures at the nation's airports. Federal authorities instituted the measures earlier this month and some fliers say the techniques are too intrusive.

For more info, see TSA Holiday Travel Tips.

Friday, November 26, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/26/10 or "The Turkey Behind the Turkey"



wh.gov: West Wing Week: 11/26/10 or "The Turkey Behind the Turkey"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he attends the NATO Summit in Portugal, visits Kokomo, Indiana, participates in the traditional turkey pardoning and volunteers alongside the First Family at Martha's Table, a local organization that provides nutrition and other family services to those in need, and more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weekly Address: Giving Thanks for Those Who Serve



wh.gov: Weekly Address: Giving Thanks for Those Who Serve

The President expresses gratitude to America's military men and women and their families, and discusses the steps his administration is taking to help create jobs so that next Thanksgiving, Americans can give thanks for a stronger economy.

Americans Express Gratitude on Thanksgiving Holiday



VOAVideo: Americans Express Gratitude on Thanksgiving Holiday

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day each year on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a time when families and friends gather to count their blessings. The idea began in the 1600s when Pilgrims came to North America from England to start a new life. After their annual harvest, they gave thanks and held a feast. Today, many Americans follow that tradition. VOA's Deborah Block tells us how neighbors in the southern U.S. state of Florida celebrate the day.

VOANews: A Traditional Thanksgiving Meal, With Modern Shortcuts

Thanksgiving Day is America's version of a harvest festival. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November download MP3

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

President Obama Pardons Turkey



WH.gov: President Obama Pardons Turkey

President Obama grants a pardon to 'Apple', the National Thanksgiving Turkey. November 24, 2010.

VOANews: Obama Sends Thanksgiving Greetings

President Obama urges Americans to support and help each other in tough times

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Orphans become naturalized U.S. citizens

Great slideshow from Yahoo News:

Eighteen children, originally from Haiti, Ethiopia, China, and other countries, were sworn in as citizens with their American adoptive parents standing by.

For more info about Immigration, Citizenship, and Adoption, see USCIS.gov: Adoption.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/19/10 or "I Really Like this Guy"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 11/19/10 or "I Really Like this Guy"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he attends the G-20 in Seoul, Korea and the annual APEC meeting in Yokohama, Japan, awards the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, and the National Medals of Science and Technology, affirms the Administration's commitment to promoting equality in the work place at a meeting of women leaders in the Roosevelt Room, and more...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

**NEW** USCitizenPod Quiz: The Founding Fathers on US Bills, Coins, and Stamps

Practice the USCIS 100:62-70 questions --a new quiz featuring
the Founding Fathers on US dollar bills, coins, and stamps.

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

66. When was the Constitution written?

67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

69. Who is the "Father of Our Country"?

70. Who was the first President?*

Read: Who was the second president of the United States?

Direct download: founders-quiz.pdf

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

**NEW** USCIS 100 Coin Quiz from USCitizenPod


**NEW** Practice Quiz: USCIS 100 questions with US Coins:

30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?*

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?

87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

92. Name one state that borders Canada. Remove Formatting from selection

93. Name one state that borders Mexico.

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?*

Read: How many states are in the United States?

Direct download: coin-quiz.pdf

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Color of Money: America’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing Produces Millions of Dollars a Day

USCIS 100:41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

VOA Learning English: The Color of Money: America’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing Produces Millions of Dollars a Day

There are 65 separate steps required to make a dollar bill. But, do not try this at home! THIS IS AMERICA (download MP3)

USCIS 100:41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

  • to print money
  • to declare war
  • to create an army
  • to make treaties

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Banknote Knowledge: Who Are the Men on the Money?



Our listener question this week comes from Iraqi Kurdistan. Farman Salih wants to know about the men whose pictures are on American paper money and why they were important. Also: T-Bone Burnett produces two albums with Elvis Costello, others. And the Hope Diamond has to share the spotlight AMERICAN MOSAIC (download MP3)

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman



penguinUSA: And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

And the Pursuit of Happiness is beloved artist and author Maira Kalman's yearlong investigation of democracy and how it works. Energized and inspired by the 2008 elections, on inauguration day Kalman traveled to Washington, D.C., launching a national tour that would take her from a town hall meeting in Newfane, Vermont, to the inner chambers of the Supreme Court. Her NYtimes blog posts are collected in her new volume: And the Pursuit of Happiness

Friday, November 12, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/12/10 or "OCONUS"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 11/12/10 or "OCONUS"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. On a special edition for the trip to Asia this week, walk step by step with the President as he meets with students, citizens, business leaders, and government officials in India, travels to Indonesia to extend a hand of friendship to the Indonesian people, attends the G-20 in Seoul, South Korea, and much more...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010


WH.gov: Naturalization Ceremony for U.S. Service Members
(reposted from 11/11/07; updated 11/11/10)

Last night, I listened to the VOA's Names Are Read to Mark 25th Anniversary of Vietnam Veterans Wall. All of a sudden I thought, "I wonder what happened to my POW/MIA?".

When I was freshman in high school, the Viet Nam war was coming to the end. A classmate, Molly Olds, who was an "army brat", convinced me, a Catholic "peacenik", to wear a POW/MIA memorial bracelet. The name on my bracelet: Richard R. Perricone. I never knew what happened to this POW, so I "googled" Perricone. There he was on the POW Network--free and alive--living in New York with his wife. Wow! I hope he is in Washington DC this weekend with his fellow vets. I hope he knows peace.

(Update; many people wrote to say Stff Sgt. Richard Perricone is alive and well).

The VOA story also brings to mind one of my students, Nguyen Kiem Long, formerly of the South Viet Nam Air Force and the Milpitas Adult School Senior ESL Class. He is currently in New York attending to family business, and I and his classmates miss him so much. He is a living example of a free and prosperous Viet Nam.

ARVN Veteran Do Ngoc Xuan
proudly displays his US Citizenship Papers

I also honor Do Ngoc Xuan, a farmer forced to flee the South and join the army. After working the night shift, he came to the Senior ESL class every day in preparation for US Citizenship--the ticket to freedom for his relatives still in Viet Nam. His goal is shared not only by the Vietnamese students at our school, but by the immigrant communty at large.

I also remember my father, Gene Gagliardi, who financed his college education via a ROTC scholarsip at the University of Illinois, Champange-Urbana. His service on the USS Hancock qualified him for further education and housing loans via the GI Bill, enabling our large family to realize the American Dream. On a similar quest, many young immigrants choose to join the military in hope of improving the lives of their own families.

Several years ago, I was conducting an English placement testing at Milpitas Adult School. I started chatting with a Latina and her husband. She spoke English quite well, so I asked her why she wanted to attend ESL classes (i.e. "Would GED be a better choice for you?"). She said, "We just took my son to the bus for the Marines. He is going to Iraq. I am so afraid. I have to do something or I will go crazy!" and she burst into tears. Her husband gazed mournfully at her and could only hold her as she wept.

Over the succeeding years, Iraqis and Afghanis have joined Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mexican students community at our school. Despite many problems, the woman has persevered in her GED studies; her son successfully served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and continues to serve in the US Marines. The son recently returned home on leave and his mother had many concerns. I told her to talk to Fr. Michael Hendrickson, our local Catholic pastor and Naval/Marine chaplain, who had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. She reported that he understood her perfectly--only families who had children "over there" could understand, and was so grateful for his compassion and the sympathy of 'others.'

On Veterans Day, let us remember the US service men and women, their families, and our allied commrade-in-arms, fighting for the freedom of their own country.

More Resources--

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Public Memorial to Disabled US Military Veterans Breaks Ground in Washington



VOAVideo: First Public Memorial to Disabled US Military Veterans Breaks Ground in Washington

Thursday marks the observation of Veterans Day in the United States, a day when the nation honors its military veterans. The national holiday falls on the date in 1918 considered the end of World War One. The day is known in Europe and elsewhere as Armistice or Remembrance Day. On Wednesday, here in Washington, there was a ground breaking for a memorial to honor a specific sort of American military veterans -- those injured and permanently disabled as a result of war. VOA's Elizabeth Lee has the story.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Congressional Midterm Elections Over, 2012 Presidential Race Next



VOAVideo: Congressional Midterm Elections Over, 2012 Presidential Race Next

It is often said that the presidential election starts the day after the midterm elections. We are there now, and soon all eyes will be on the 2012 presidential race. President Barack Obama is a good campaigner. So he was much in the political fray in the midterm elections. Two years from now, he will do the same for himself, if he wants to keep his job.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Helping Students from Immigrant Families to Discover an "Emotional Connection" to U.S. History

USCIS 100:52. What do we show loyalty to
when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?



us.ed.gov: Helping Students from Immigrant Families to Discover an "Emotional Connection" to U.S. History

Tim Bailey, 2009 National History Teacher of the Year, now a history teacher at Salt Lake City's Northwest Middle School, in the same feeder system as Escalante Elementary, serves mostly disadvantaged students. Although most of them come from families that recently immigrated from Latin America, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, the children respond enthusiastically to Tim's creative approach to teaching American history and citizenship.

USCIS 100:52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

  • the United States
  • the flag

Saturday, November 6, 2010

JFK Memorial at The Grotto, Portland, OR

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Hello from Portland, OR! This weekend, I am visiting friends who have brought me to The Grotto for a couple of hours of prayer and refelction. Outside The Grotto, there is a memorial to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic elected as US president. With JFK's election, millions of American Catholics felt fully included in the US political system. An imperfect man, an imperfect president, an imperfect saint: I submit that JFK is the patron of modern American Catholicism. John Fitzgerald Kennedy--ora pro nobis!

Friday, November 5, 2010

West Wing Week: 11/05/10 or "Don't Watch the Plasma Arc"



WH.gov: West Wing Week: 11/05/10 or "Don't Watch the Plasma Arc"

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he tours Stromberg Sheet Metal, a Maryland company planning to expand its workforce in the coming year, explains the actions taken to disrupt and investigate a potential terrorist attack, welcomes trick-or-treaters to the White House for Halloween, takes questions from the press and speaks about ways to move the country forward and grow our economy, surprises a group of wounded warriors during their White House tour and much more...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Voters React to Republican Gains in Mid-Term Elections



VOAVideo: Voters React to Republican Gains in Mid-Term Elections

In an historic shift, Republicans emerged victorious in the 2010 U.S. mid-term elections. While they made large gains in the House of Representatives, Democrats retained control of the Senate. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, many voters hope the shift will bring new legislation that combats high unemployment, falling home prices, and rising government debt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Voters Head to Polls in Midterm Elections



VOAVideo: Voters Head to Polls in Midterm Elections

On Tuesday, voters will decide who will occupy all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, as well as 37 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate. Gubernatorial races are also important, as states redraw Congressional districts following a 10-year census. Democrats are hoping for a good turnout so they can deter what many pundits say might be a Republican landslide. VOA headed to the polls today in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. Laurel Bowman has the latest.