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Free Citizenship Workshop Sponsored by the American Immigration Lawyers Association September 19, 2015

The American Immigration Lawyers Association will be hosting a free workshop on September 19, 2015 at various sites around the country.  The workshop will be providing assistance to lawful permanent residents who are eligible for naturalization. Each year, at sites across the country, AILA attorneys and other stakeholders provide assistance to lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization.  Last year, AILA and its partner “ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía!” held more than 50 naturalization clinics in 22 states and the District of Columbia serving thousands of immigrants who aspired to become citizens. We will provide more updates to our community as they become available. For more information about the event please contact AILA’s Pro Bono department probono@aila.org.

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AILA Citizenship Statistics

  • Estimates are that there are more than eight million lawful permanent residents (green card holders) living and working in the United States who qualify for naturalization – becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • Over the past ten years, more than 6.6 million lawful permanent residents became naturalized citizens: over ¾ of a million people in FY 2013, and over 650,000 people in FY 2014.
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen is an important decision for an immigrant and their family; it’s not something one does at the drop of a hat but requires not only a demonstrated commitment to America and its values, but a lot of paperwork and fees.
  • We know there are a lot of obstacles that can prevent a green card holder from becoming a citizen – whether it’s just not knowing where to start, not knowing what questions to ask, or, not knowing where to go for answers.
  • Each year, AILA and its members partner with other organizations to hold Citizenship Day events where eligible applicants can get help with their paperwork, ensure they are filing correctly, and a sense of what’s next in their quest for citizenship.
  • The workshops are designed to provide comprehensive assistance to immigrants wishing to take their first steps toward naturalized U.S. citizenship.
  • General eligibility requirements for naturalization include:
    • Be at least 18 years of age;
    • Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
    • Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, three years if married to a US citizen and living in marital union, or under certain other circumstances.;
    • Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months, 18 months for one married to a USC.;
    • Be a person of good moral character;
    • Be able to speak, read, write and understand the English language;
    • Have knowledge of U.S. government and history; and
    • Be willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance.
  • Language assistance at our Citizenship Day event will be provided. If there are immigrants who hesitate to come because they don’t think someone will speak their language, we hope our language experts will calm those fears.
  • Two members of Congress, Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), introduced a bill in July to allow the federal government to give grants to programs that help integrate immigrants and encourage civic participation, “the New Americans Success Act.”
    • The legislation would allow the federal government—specifically, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—to accept private donations to fund integration programs for prospective Americans.
    • Grants would be given to state and city governments to offer English classes, civics classes and career development to legal permanent residents.
    • The bill would also waive the English-language fluency requirement for seniors who have been living in the United States for more than 10 years; that would be a huge help since many seniors cannot learn a new language as easily.

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