At a press conference today, the New Americans Campaign announced the launch of Citizenship 1-2-3, a campaign to help green card holders become U.S. citizens through an accessible and innovative process.
This campaign brings together an online tool, on-the-ground legal service providers, a texting platform and a telephone hotline to provide lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with the information, tools and support they need to begin the naturalization process.
“Applying for citizenship is easier than some people think,” said Emilio Gonzalez, former director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who serves as the spokesman for the campaign. “If we can help people become full-fledged Americans, our communities and our country will reap the benefits.”
In its initial pilot phase this month, Citizenship 1-2-3 will aim to reach the 240,000 Latino/Hispanic green card holders in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale designated market area who are eligible to naturalize.
The New Americans Campaign is partnering with Citizenshipworks, Catholic Legal Services-Archdiocese of Miami (CLS), NALEO Educational Fund, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Voto Latino, Center for Immigrant Advancement (CIMA), Florida International University, Hispanic Unity, International Rescue Committee Miami, Read 2 Succeed and iAmerica.
This project is underwritten by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. New Americans Campaign funders, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Grove Foundation, the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and the JPB Foundation, also provide support to the project.
The following are quotes from Citizenship 1-2-3 partners:
Melissa A. Rodgers, Director of Programs, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, New Americans Campaign:
“This program gives the New Americans Campaign a great opportunity to carry out its mission. By using innovative communications and technological tools, Citizenship 1-2-3 is able to reach the populations we are ready to help: eligible lawful permanent residents who want to become U.S. citizens and just don’t know where to begin. Our campaign makes it easy for green-card holders to apply for citizenship knowing that our trusted local partners can help them.”
Matthew Burnett, Director, Immigration Advocates Network:
“Research shows that large numbers of lawful permanent residents who are eligible to naturalize are not taking the final step to become U.S. citizens. We are excited to bring our innovative CitizenshipWorks platform to the Citizenship 1-2-3 campaign as a free, safe and simple alternative for lawful permanent residents to navigate the naturalization process from start to finish.”
Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County:
“Citizenship 1-2-3 is another important tool for helping our community better understand the often complex naturalization process. This initiative greatly complements the work we are doing as the first partnering county in the Cities for Citizenship initiative. The benefits of citizenship are tremendous not only for the individuals who naturalize, but also for our community and nation as a whole. I hope all eligible residents will take the final step to citizenship.”
Randolph McGrorty, Executive Director, Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, Inc.:
“Catholic Legal Services and all the Miami New Americans Campaign partners aim to assist the residents of Miami-Dade who aspire to become U.S. Citizens. Through Citizenship 1-2-3 and its cost-effective, convenient and legally competent opportunities to apply for naturalization, we hope to reach even more legal permanent residents and help them achieve their dream of becoming citizens.”
Alberto Ibargüen, President, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:
“We are pleased to support this effort to educate residents who are eligible to naturalize. Citizenship 1-2-3 supports our mission: to promote informed and engaged communities. When this innovative program eventually is brought to scale, the naturalization process will become easier and more accessible to more people. By helping lawful permanent residents gain the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, Citizenship 1-2-3 will allow them to become fully engaged in their communities.”
Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, NALEO Educational Fund:
“NALEO Educational Fund is excited to partner with the New Americans Campaign and other trusted nonprofit organizations to leverage our collective resources to reach the more than 240,000 legal permanent residents in Miami-Fort Lauderdale who are eligible to become U.S. citizens. Citizenship 1-2-3’s integration of modern technologies to provide increased access to free and low-cost support with the application process is a groundbreaking effort to increase the number of naturalized citizens by providing LPRs with the resources needed to naturalize and become full participants in our democracy through nontraditional methods.”
Helene O’Brien, iAmerica Representative and SEIU 32BJ Florida State Director:
“Across the country, millions of legal permanent residents are motivated by today’s political reality to become U.S. citizens; but, even so, many fear the application process. Today, we can break down many of the barriers and increase our reach. With new online tools like Citizenshipworks and our efforts on the ground, we can inspire and reassure eligible Miami lawful residents to take the first step and ultimately become full participants in our democracy.”