When Stephen Filios is not teaching Foundations of Science for Brigham Young University Idaho’s online program, hevolunteers in IIBA’s citizenship preparation classes. “I have always had an interest in working with people from different cultures,” says Stephen, so he stepped up to teach IIBA’s San Francisco class in the Tenderloin, attended primarily by Arab women.
IIBA staff attorney Sara MacPherson recently traveled to the Dilley, Texas Detention Center. As a volunteer with the CARA project Her role was to conduct “credible fear determinations”. This process allows an individual to provide information which can help establish they have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution were they to return to their home country.
During the presidential election, IIBA client Sarah A. closely followed the nominees' stances on immigration. Sensing unrest, she began the citizenship application process. The daughter of Yemeni parents, Sarah lived in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom before moving to the U.S., where she lives with her husband and children, who are U.S. citizens.
Javier is the first member of his family to graduate from college, with a degree in criminal justice from San Jose State University, and plans of becoming a police officer one day. His aspirations of protecting and serving his community stem from the many struggles he faced growing up.
When Maria moved to the United States her main focus was ensuring that her children had the opportunity to attend high school and college. Maria patiently waited 20 years in the U.S. before having the chance to apply for U.S. citizenship. This required her to not only overcome her illiteracy, but also learn how to speak English.
In a span of 30 days, Joey Yang’s online campaign, Make America Colorful Again, received 260 donations and raised a total of $7,344. All proceeds benefit IIBA and the Bay Area immigrant communities we serve. Joey’s goal was to help immigrants secure their lives in the U.S. by becoming American citizens.
After living in the United States for 31 years, Marielle Coeytaux-Britton can proudly call herself a U.S. citizen. Marielle took her oath of allegiance this past spring. She was recognized by the Napa County Board of Supervisors this past July, for successfully becoming U.S. citizens.
Sarah found IIBA’s call for volunteer ESL and Civics instructors at our Redwood City office and began volunteering in February. Teaching a basic-level citizenship class would be new to Sarah, something she viewed as a challenge and learning opportunity. “This is my first time teaching students who have little to no formal education. I spend a good portion of class time teaching English as a base.”
Jennifer Beckett moved to San Francisco in 1989, just in time for the Loma Prieta earthquake. Undeterred by the rattling landscape, she settled in and made this city, and IIBA, her home. Jennifer joined the Board of Directors in 1990, attracted by “IIBA’s mission and programs,” which “facilitate citizenship and civic engagement, so people who are newcomers to this country can become productive and involved.”
I was already motivated to become a U.S. citizen, and my academic dreams only encouraged me more. I began the citizenship process by getting in contact with International Institute of the Bay Area. Having a U.S. passport feels like having a key to the world.