By Rommel Calderwood
Citizenship Day (September 17) is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of U.S. citizenship and to recognize the new Americans who once immigrated to the U.S. from all corners of the world.
However, only about 8 percent of eligible lawful permanent residents “LPRs” or “green card holders” naturalize and become U.S. citizens each year. Many eligible LPRs face a number of obstacles, including lack of information and scarce resources that prevent them from pursuing this American dream.
In response, CLINIC, a founding partner organization of the , launched a national multi-media campaign, La Cuidadania: Cambia tu Vida (“Citizenship: It changes your life/Citizenship: Change your life”), that aims to encourage LPRs to begin their journey of becoming citizens. The public service announcements have aired in Los Angeles and Miami, which urge the cities’ LPR communities to seek naturalization services from local affiliates in their dioceses. In the fall, CLINIC will bring the campaign to Dallas-Fort Worth in partnership with the Dioceses of Dallas and Fort Worth and CLINIC’s partners in the New Americans Campaign: Catholic Charities of Dallas, Catholic Charities Fort Worth and Proyecto Inmigrante.
CLINIC is also proud and excited to launch a Spanish-language radio campaign around the country to educate LPRs about the benefits of naturalization and to encourage them to apply for citizenship at their affiliate service provider. In partnership with the Hispanic Communications Network, the radio campaign will air on HCN’s radio network of over 250 affiliate stations across the country. Through these two campaigns, CLINIC anticipates reaching large numbers of LPRs in underserved regions of the country and helping them to realize their dreams of finally becoming Americans.
Rommel Calderwood is the Project Coordinator for the New Americans Campaign in CLINIC’s Capacity Building Section.