In the summer of 2014, Mayor De Blasio, Mayor Emanuel, and Mayor Garcetti, National Partnership for New Americans and the Center for Popular Democracy formed the Executive Committee of Cities for Citizenship in an effort to facilitate greater capacity for naturalization rates among their residents. The were joined by Citi Community Development as a founding corporate partner to encourage financial empowerment initiatives among Legal Permanent Residents to foster greater economic growth and vitality in their cities. The Executive Committee is the leadership of Cities for Citizenship and work closely with community organizations to create effective partnerships and meaningful collaborations to support naturalization in their cities and across the US for the nearly 8.5 million Legal Permanent Residents that are eligible to naturalize today.
Chicago pledges to help about one-third of its 560,000 immigrants become U.S. citizens through the Chicago New Americans initiative, in partnership with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The city’s Office of New Americans and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights host informational workshops on naturalization at the City Colleges of Chicago. The Office of New Americans also implemented Citizenship Corners in Chicago’s public libraries, where information on the naturalization process is available in the most common languages spoken in Chicago, in addition to free citizenship workshops, English Second Language classes, and multi-lingual financial education classes. Other objectives of the Office under this initiative include launching a targeted campaign to naturalize City employees and integrating informational materials on naturalization into the Welcoming Portal and Welcome Station – an online portal designed to connect immigrants with resources available to them and immigrant resource center – respectively. Furthermore, the city’s Small Business Center provides services to immigrant business-owners and targets large immigrant employers for citizenship and financial coaching support. Staff from community organizations regularly visit schools with large concentrations of immigrant students and parents to create a one-stop shop offering information about the naturalization process, free immigration legal assistance, and financial coaching.
The City of Los Angeles continues to promote naturalization and offer assistance to the immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens among its 350,000 legal permanent residents and has successfully helped 2,654 residents since joining Cities for Citizenship. Mayor Eric Garcetti re-established a partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in 2013 to develop civic education workshops to promote citizenship in Los Angeles. The City also partnered with several community-based organizations – Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), International Rescue Committee (IRC), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and Youth Policy Institute (YPI) – to offer educational materials on immigration integration and financial education in the Citizenship Corners located in all 73 public library branches throughout the city: CHIRLA, AAAJ, and IRC offer citizenship workshops and classes like basic ESL classes and Civics class to educate applicants on the civics exam; NALEO provides citizenship information sessions, free application assistance, and financial literacy workshops; and YPI collaborates with the NALEO to provide financial education to clients receiving Citizenship Application assistance. The Mayor’s Office is also working with these organizations to increase access to micro-loans and savings for the city’s immigrant community.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs plans to expand its NYCitizenship Initiative, the city’s first large-scale coordinated effort to address barriers to naturalization, funded by Citi Community Development. The initiative connects permanent legal residents to financial counseling and support, micro-loans, and legal assistance from qualified attorneys to complete the naturalization application; it provided support to over 7,000 participants in its first two years. The city will also develop the existing school-based program NYCitizenship in Schools and partner with the Human Resources Administration, a municipal agency that serves low-income New Yorkers, to significantly increase access to support to the immigrants seeking to become naturalized among the city’s nearly 700,000 legal permanent residents.
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) harnesses the collective power and resources of the country’s 37 largest regional immigrant rights organizations in 35 states. Our aim is to achieve a vibrant, just and welcoming democracy for all. Immigrants are the soul of our organization, and immigrant communities inspire, implement and champion our work. Since 2012, our members have provided large-scale immigration services for Citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and have assisted over 68,000 LPR’s with the naturalization process while advocating for federal, state and local policies rooted in our ongoing commitment to integrating newcomers into the fabric of our nation.
CPD works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. CPD strengthens our collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.
Within our immigrant rights work, we work closely with state-based partners and national allies to pursue cutting-edge pro-immigrant policies in cities and states across the country. CPD advances affirmative efforts to build inclusive communities by advancing policies such as municipal-ID programs, language access and state citizenship, and defensive measures to protect immigrant communities from the unjust and discriminatory enforcement of immigrant laws, such as detainer discretion laws and access to counsel programs.
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