WASHINGTON, DC – The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is calling on lawful permanent residents to obtain citizenship. Citizenship is an important element of civic integration and building a vibrant society. Many immigrants rights organizations are holding group processing events to help large numbers of immigrants apply for citizenship. CLINIC is actively conducting wide-scale naturalization efforts.
CLINIC’s recently published report, A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan, calls on the government to make integration and citizenship a top priority in immigration policy. The United States currently has 8.5 million immigrants who are eligible to become citizens. Another 2.8 million will become eligible in a few years. The vast majority wants to become citizens, but many need assistance with the process. Surprisingly, the U.S. government lacks a coordinated immigrant integration program to promote citizenship and to prepare immigrants for naturalization.
CLINIC recognizes the need to mobilize immigration service providers to encourage immigrant citizenship.
To this end, CLINIC has launched two projects to facilitate citizenship-building efforts.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded CLINIC a grant to help eighteen agencies around the country to conduct naturalization group application workshops. These workshops will help naturalize thousands of immigrants and encourage immigration service providers to push naturalization locally.
CLINIC was also awarded a grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide national training and support to refugee service providers and refugee associations on citizenship and civic participation.
According to CLINIC Executive Director Donald Kerwin, “the main goal is to help vulnerable immigrants become citizens and participate fully in this country, with all its rights and duties.” He added, “permanent residents want to take advantage of what citizenship offers, but they need help getting there.”