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The National Partnership for New Americans

U.S. Citizenship Out of Reach for Many Working Poor Immigrants

The critical step to the full integration of immigrants in our nation – attaining U.S. citizenship – is out reach for many working poor immigrants. A new report presents first-ever analysis of the roughly 8.8 million lawful permanent residents who are currently eligible to apply for citizenship by income, ethnicity, and education.

Join us in asking USCIS to lower the citizenship fee!

Inside NPNA

NPNA has deep reach into diverse immigrant communities in eleven states across the country. Check out our interactive map to see where Partners are located and what they’re working on.


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Brad Wong, Immigration Conference to Focus on 'Inclusive Democracy', Equal Voice, December 9, 2014

Tanvi Misra, On Immigration, Gaining the Support of Mayors Is as Much Practical as It Is Political, The Atlantic CityLab, December 9, 2014

Roxana Kopetman, Free events in L.A., O.C. promise help on Obama's immigration plan, Orange County Register, December 11, 2014

Kate Linthicum, Immigrants Get Advice on Eligibility for Delayed-Deportation Programs, Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2014

Julia Preston, Undocumented Immigrants Line Up For Door Opened by Obama, New York Times, December 14, 2014

Thousands Attend Immigration Forum on Obama's Reform Plan, CBS Los Angeles, December 14, 2014

Indocumentados asisten a jornada sobre alivio migratorio en EU, La Cronica, December 14, 2014

Isaias Alvarado, Realizan foro migratorio en Los Ángeles, La Opinion, December 14, 2014

Undocumented Immigrants to Receive Consulting Services, China News, December 14, 2014

Preguntas y respuestas sobre acción ejecutiva, Univision, December 14, 2014

Roxana Kopetman, Forum aims to provide answers, offers details on new immigration regulations, Orange County Register, December 14, 2014

Tanvi Misra, In Europe and America, Segregation Continues, The Atlantic CITYLAB, September 22, 2014

Michael Howard Saul, Push for Immigrants to Become Citizens, Wall St. Journal, September 17, 2014

Chicago Mayor Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, New York City Mayor de Blasio and Citi Launch Cities for Citizenship, MarketWatch, September 17, 2014

Jennifer G. Hickey, Big-city Mayors, Seeing Gain, Push Citizenship for Immigrants, Newsmax, September 17, 2014

John Byrne, Chicago part of U.S. citizenship push for legal immigrants, Chicago Tribune, September 17, 2014

Cities push for citizenship, confirmation hearing for new ICE chief, immigration and tight Senate races, 89.3 KPCC, September 17, 2014

Jamie Reyes, Ciudades invierten para que más inmigrantes se hagan ciudadanos, Vivelo Hoy, September 17, 2014

Cristian DeMarco, Ayuda para la ciudadanía en Nueva York, Telemundo, September 17, 2014

Chicago Mayor Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, New York City Mayor de Blasio and Citi Launch Cities for Citizenship, Park Forest ENews, September 17, 2014

Ivan Pereira, De Blasio, Chicago, L.A. mayors form initiative to help immigrants, AM New York, September 17, 2014

Michael Oleaga, Citizenship and Immigration Services to Naturalize Over 27,000 New Citizens, Latin Post, September 17, 2014

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    CASA de Maryland

    Maryland has been one of the top ten leading recipients of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) in the country for the past ten years. Of the approximately 210,000 LPRs in Maryland, an estimated 120,000 are now eligible to naturalize. Many eligible LPRs never attempt to naturalize because they are either unaware that they are eligible or do not know how to begin the process. LPRs that do begin the process are often hindered by limited English proficiency, the high cost of applying, legal bars or the lack of sufficient support to navigate the process.

    While the barriers to naturalization are significant, they are also surmountable. The New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland addresses the unique reasons why LPRs are not naturalizing through a comprehensive and coordinated citizenship promotion program.

    The New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland involves three key components:

    1. Direct Immigrant Integration Services
    2. Information Gathering
    3. Community Involvement, Leadership Development, and Volunteer Management

    AmeriCorps members are charged with coordinating workshops and intake clinics focused on naturalization, financial literacy and economic development; assisting LPRs in filling out the N-400 citizenship application; teaching and/or coordinating English and citizenship preparation courses; strengthening and developing organization partnerships; conducting needs assessments and community education within the immigrant community; developing volunteer opportunities; cultivating immigrant and new citizen leadership; and training and coordinating volunteers.

    Citizenship Maryland

    CASA de Maryland formed Citizenship Maryland to address one of the primary barriers that Legal Permanent Residents face in becoming U.S. citizens – the financial burden of the naturalization process.  The loan program was designed in collaboration with financial institutions and two Community Development Financial Institutions (CFDIs): the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and the Ethiopian Community Development Council Enterprise Development Group (EDG), following a review of small dollar loan programs nationwide. 

    The goals of Citizenship Maryland are two-fold: 1) to increase the rate of naturalization among LPRs in Maryland and 2) to promote family financial stability and improve financial behaviors through a loan product that provides incentives for timely and complete loan repayment. 

    Loan Details

    •    The loan amount will be set at the cost of the citizenship application, $680, with a 8.5% interest rate (with an existing checking account) or 9% interest rate (without a checking account).  
    •    The borrower begins repayment one month after the loan has been dispersed and s/he will have six months to repay the loan (approximately five payments of $120 and a final payment of $100).  
    •    When the final on-time payment is made, the $25 initial application fee will be deposited into the borrower’s savings account if s/he has one to encourage the individual to continue saving after the loan has been repaid.  
    •    CASA will provide assistance in filling out the N-400 application for citizenship and provide individual coaching sessions on important financial literacy topics such as – budgeting, credit building, wealth and asset building, and consumer protection.
    •    Additionally, borrowers will be encouraged to participate in CASA’s Citizenship classes offered at convenient times throughout the week.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    New American Success Stories

    Tina Davies, Liberia

    “I want to have the opportunity to vote. It is important for everyone to vote so you have your rights and your voice will be heard.”

    Fleeing war-torn Liberia in 1999 and leaving her children was a heart-wrenching decision for Tina Davies. But she knew there was no future for her family amidst the violence in her home country. She traveled to the U.S. as an asylee and worked for years to learn the skills she would need to be successful – including speaking and writing English, driving a car, and balancing a checkbook.

    When she became a U.S. Citizen in April 2011, Tina knew that a new period in her life was beginning – one in which she would be able to vote, unite her family, and travel freely to visit relatives in West Africa. She credits CASA’s New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland with making her dream of U.S. citizenship come true.


    Carlos Bonilla
    , El Salvador

    “Working with the New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland was an excellent preparation for my citizenship exam. I was very happy with the support of the members through every step of the application process. When I finished the citizenship class I felt more than ready for the interview. I was very comfortable answering the questions and talking with my interviewer in English. The officer interviewing me even complimented my English skills and how well I had done on the civics portion of the exam.

    I told her it was because I studied with CASA de Maryland. I appreciated that the services are free of charge. Many people have a hard time paying for the application itself, so to offer these kinds of services are a huge benefit to the community.”