On April 28 and 29 a group of new immigrants, members of the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) of the ESU visited Washington, DC. The trip was part of ARNIC's civil and cultural education initiative. Through trips to landmarks, museums, parks, historical buildings and notable organizations in New York City and beyond these new Americans learn about American culture, history, arts, governance and citizenship.
During the two-day trip, ARNIC members visited the U.S. Capitol, toured the White House Visitors' Center, walked the length of the National Mall, visited national memorials around the Tidal Basin, and explored exhibitions at the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. A highlight of the trip was a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court, where ARNIC members witnessed oral arguments in a number of high-profile cases. The Supreme Court upheld the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish and enforce air pollution standards for coal power plants and considered whether a warrant is required to search cell phones. An Associated Press reporter covering the cases snapped a picture of ARNIC members waiting to enter the courthouse: click here.
For all participants this trip was their first visit to all three branches of the Federal government. "I was deeply impressed by the majestic American institutions that symbolize the power and strength of this great nation" said Naitou, an immigrant from Guinea-Conakry. Mirela, who is originally from Albania, added, "I could definitely say [this trip] was one of the best experiences I have had in the USA so far."
The Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) is committed to improving the lives of recent immigrants by providing a welcoming environment, resources and information to help them improve their English, explore work and study opportunities, network, pursue citizenship, and acquire cultural fluency in order to participate fully in American society. ARNIC members receive a one-year scholarship that covers their participation in English n Action one-on-one conversation programs, English classes, workshops and cultural and civil trips and events. ARNIC was launched in January 2013. It is funded by Andrew Romay and the Open Society Foundations.