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Citizenship and Integration National Capacity Building Project

 From 2010 to 2013, CLINIC operated two, two-year grants for national capacity building from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Citizenship.   These grants together funded CLINIC’s Citizenship & Integration National Capacity Building Project.  The goals of this project were to expand citizenship services for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) in underserved communities, and to build the long-term capacity of local affiliates to provide these services.

Through the first grant (2010-2012), CLINIC provided technical assistance and funding to four local affiliate agencies to establish new programs in English as a Second Language (ESL) / citizenship education and/or naturalization application assistance.  The four affiliates were Catholic Charities of Buffalo, NY; Catholic Charities of Cleveland, OH; Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan; and Catholic Charities of Stockton, CA.  Project outcomes are listed below.

 

Citizenship Project Outcomes, 2010-2012

 

Buffalo

Cleveland

Michigan

Stockton

Project Total

Enrolled students

140

 

43

 

115

198

496

LPRs provided with eligibility screening & advice

300

135

196

386

1,017

N-400s filed

222

 

84

 

 

67

 

156

529

BIA recognized?

 

yes

 

yes

yes

yes

N/A

BIA accredited staff or attorney?

yes

yes

yes

yes

N/A

For the second grant (2011-2013), CLINIC provided technical assistance and funding to an additional four local affiliate agencies to establish new programs in ESL/citizenship education and/or naturalization application assistance: Catholic Charities of Indianapolis, IN; Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, CA; Catholic Charities of Onondaga County (Syracuse), NY; and Catholic Charities of Worcester, MA.  CLINIC assisted with project design and curriculum development, offered training on naturalization law and program management, and provided case consultations and intensive assistance with the BIA application process. 

All four of the local affiliate agencies are now authorized to provide immigration legal services (two obtained BIA recognition and two were already recognized), and all are staffed by BIA accredited representatives. Through this grant, CLINIC helped 12 staff at three agencies to obtain accreditation.  All four programs now have well-developed, sustainable citizenship education and legal programs as anticipated under this grant. These educational and legal services meet the benchmarks identified by CLINIC for quality and professionalism.  Collectively, the four affiliates served LPRs from more than 50 countries, with the highest numbers from Mexico, Burma, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Liberia. Many of the clients served by this grant were refugees or immigrants who have special challenges in the naturalization process such as low income or low levels of literacy and formal education.  Below is a summary of outcomes for the second grant.

 

Citizenship Project Outcomes, 2011-2013

 

Indianapolis

Los Angeles

Syracuse

Worcester

Project Total

Enrolled students

140

 

399

 

222

191

952

LPRs provided with eligibility screening & advice

198

1,187

203

260

1,848

N-400s filed:

143

 

839

 

 

143

 

163

1,288

Pass rate for test

90%

96%

96%

94%

94%

Naturalized citizens to date

 

111

 

520

 

99

 

143

873

BIA recognized?

 

yes

 

yes

yes

yes

N/A

BIA accredited staff or attorney?

yes

yes

yes

yes

N/A

 

Project Resources

CLINIC Webinar, All About BIA Recognition and Accreditation

CLINIC Webinar, Harnessing the Power of Partnerships

Toolkit for Volunteer Management - This toolkit is designed to provide programs with help finding tasks for non-legal volunteers, developing a volunteer program, and retaining quality volunteers. 

CLINIC Webinar, All About Fee Waivers

USCIS' Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative

USCIS’ Public Education Initiative to Combat the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law

CLINIC press release, 2011

Office of Citizenship press release, 2011

Citizenship for Us: A Handbook on Naturalization and Citizenship, 6th Edition - This comprehensive guide to the naturalization process provides detailed information on citizenship eligibility, requirements, and benefits. 

Strategies for Naturalizing the Most Vulnerable Applicants, 2nd Edition – This handbook discusses English exemptions, due consideration, reasonable accommodations, disability waivers, oath waivers, fee waivers, and expedited processing.

Citizenship for Elders: Issues and Options in Test Preparation, 2nd Edition - This handbook is based on a nationwide survey of 200 citizenship education programs and contains numerous helpful recommendations and tips from the field.

Volunteers Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens: The Naturalization Group Application Workshop - This free, online course is designed to train volunteers to assist immigrants at group application workshop events.

A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan - This report sets forth the resources, activities, and partnerships that would be required to naturalize as many eligible immigrants as possible.

Toolkit for Creating a Citizenship Preparation Program - This toolkit is for programs searching for a way to serve clients' legal and language needs when pursuing U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship and Civic Participation Toolkit - This toolkit contains a number of resources on citizenship and civic participation.

Toolkit for BIA Recognition and Accreditation - This toolkit is designed to educate agencies on the need for BIA recognition and accreditation and assist them in the application process.

Toolkit for Naturalization Workshops - This toolkit is designed to help charitable immigration programs achieve a successful workshop. The forms and sample documents can be used as is or adapted by local programs for their own needs.

Toolkit for Case Management - This toolkit is intended to facilitate the process of designing and/or improving the case management system in an immigration program.

Starting a Legal Immigration Program - This guide is designed to give an overview of essentials for starting a new legal services program or sustaining an existing nonprofit legal immigration program.

Managing an Immigration Program: Steps for Creating and Increasing Legal Capacity - This manual describes best practices used by many of the country's most experienced nonprofit immigration programs and managers

 

Have a Question?

If you have any feedback or questions, please contact Laura Burdick at lburdick@cliniclegal.org.