Winning a Deeper Federal Commitment to Naturalization Efforts
While the efforts of U.S.C.I.S. to limit citizenship fee increases, eliminate backlogs, and standardize the fee waiver process are very important, it cannot be said that there has been a deep push in support of naturalization by the Federal government during the first term of President Obama.
The Partnership is working with the National Immigration Forum to initiate an effort to win deeper federal commitment to naturalization. The Partnership with members of the Naturalization Working Group, the New Americans Collaborative (NAC), and our philanthropic allies can work together to encourage a much deeper commitment to naturalization efforts should there be a second term. There are many ways that the Administration could work with policy and programmatic experts to facilitate naturalization. These strategies could include:
- notifying LPR’s when they become eligible to apply for citizenship, what the requirements are, and how to proceed;
- an examination of the fee structure for immigration services that properly values citizenship (discussed more below);
- advocating for general revenue funding of citizenship services to reduce the cost;
- grant programs within both the U.S.C.I.S. and the Department of Education to support citizenship adult education efforts;
- a naturalization campaign could be a part of the immigrant integration efforts being pushed by the White House itself.
The conversation has already begun on ways to engage this administration at the highest levels to ensure and deepen federal commitment to naturalization in both the most practical and the most symbolic of ways.