C4C Celebrates 5 Years of Impact

For Immediate Release:

September 17, 2019 

Cities for Citizenship Celebrates 5 Years of Impact

National network grows to 86 cities and counties, supporting over one million lawful permanent residents

NEW YORK -- This September 17th on Citizenship Day, a day that celebrates those who have become U.S. citizens, Cities for Citizenship will celebrate its five-year anniversary. Launching with the Mayors of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in 2014, Cities for Citizenship (C4C) has expanded to be a major nonpartisan national initiative of now 86 participating cities and counties aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents and encouraging investment in citizenship and financial empowerment programs. Cities for Citizenship was co-founded by National Partnership for New Americans, Citi Community Development as the founding corporate partner, and the Center for Popular Democracy. 

In honor of the anniversary of the initiative, participating cities and counties including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Santa Fe, Philadelphia and Tulsa will host local events throughout the month of September. The community-led events include citizenship workshops, oath ceremonies, immigrant-owned business celebrations, festivities at local libraries and more. 

"Citizenship Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on what it means to be an American -- and celebrate the women and men who have worked hard and earned the rights and responsibilities of citizenship," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "For five years, Cities for Citizenship has reinforced and reaffirmed a basic truth: our cities are places of belonging, our communities are strengthened by each generation of immigrants, and our nation is better off when we keep the doors of opportunity and freedom open to our newest fellow Americans." 

“New York always stands with our immigrant brothers and sisters and we’re proud to be helping cities across the country adopt programs that encourage residents to take critical steps towards naturalization,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We will never stop advocating for greater inclusivity and economic opportunity for our immigrant communities.”

“Supporting people on their paths to citizenship is a vital way to increase economic security for both individuals and the cities in which they live,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance.  “In its first five years, Cities for Citizenship has made significant strides in connecting immigrants with the tools and resources they need to build their financial identities. By supporting this multisector effort, Citi aims to boost financial inclusion and harness citizenship as an economic asset for individuals, cities and the national economy.”

“As a Welcoming City, Chicago will always be a beacon of hope for our immigrant and refugee communities, ensuring our neighbors are never forced into the shadows but are able to proudly celebrate their culture and heritage,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “The support that organizations like Cities for Citizenship provides empowers our residents to know their rights and ultimately allows them to make countless contributions throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.”

“Today we celebrate five years of cities across the nation and across the political spectrum investing in their immigrant communities and making citizenship accessible to all,” said Josh Hoyt, Executive Director of the National Partnership for New Americans. “We are proud to stand with nearly 90 cities, counties and community partners in encouraging eligible immigrants to naturalize while collectively building the infrastructure to make that happen through citizenship workshops and other events that show that we welcome new Americans and recognize them as a critical part of our country.”

“Today, as many in this country spread a message of hate and intolerance, cities from all over the nation have joined Cities for Citizenship to welcome immigrants and make sure that any person with the ability to become a citizen, has the resources to do so. Today, we celebrate the five years of impact for countless generations for families across the U.S. because we know that immigrants are the heart and foundation of this country,” said Ana María Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy.

Over 8.8 million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are eligible to naturalize across the United States – 52 percent of whom are low-income. Data shows that with naturalization, new citizens realize an eight to eleven percent increase in individual earnings, and home ownership increases by 6.3 percentage points. In addition to a host of benefits for individuals, naturalization can have important macroeconomic benefits for local communities. Cities for Citizenship has helped to break down barriers for those who might miss out on applying for citizenship. In 2018, the C4C ‘America is Home’ $5 million grant program was launched to support new and emerging naturalization efforts in order to increase citizenship rates among the immigrant community. 

Over the past five years, the Cities for Citizenship initiative celebrates its impact with:

  • 1,788,778 people who attended citizenship-related programming 

  • 48,283 people who initiated the citizenship process / applied for citizenship 

  • 42,463 people who received financial information (waiver, counseling, microloan assistance) 

  • 30,079 assisted with financial empowerment services 

The Cities for Citizenship initiative is co-chaired by Mayors Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot of Chicago, and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City.

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About Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)
The Center for Popular Democracy is a national network of more than 50 community organizations dedicated to achieving racial and economic justice through local grassroots organizing. CPD trains and supports leadership, staff, and members to grow base-building organizations to scale and leverage that strength to win cutting-edge policy victories at the federal, state and local level.

About National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA)

The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) harnesses the collective power and resources of the country’s 35 largest regional immigrant rights organizations in 37 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. NPNA sponsors the annual National Immigrant Integration Conference and, in the past two years, NPNA partners have assisted over 50,000 immigrants to become U.S. citizens and pursue legal status. 

About Citi
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.