Houston Organizations Join Forces to Pave Better Road to Citizenship for Local Legal Permanent Residents

Advocates holding week-long series of workshops launching innovative technology tool, changing how Houstonians receive citizenship-support assistance

WHAT: Houston legal service providers and nonprofit organizations are hosting a free week-long series of naturalization events. They are also unveiling the use of innovative technology platform, CitizenshipWorks, to transform the system of naturalization assistance in Houston and to help more legal permanent residents become U.S. citizens.

At Houston’s Citizenship & Immigration Forums, a diverse group of local partners are collaborating to assist greater numbers of aspiring citizens and connect with underserved communities. These partners include Boat People SOS, the Chinese Community Center, Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, NALEO Educational Fund, Neighborhood Centers Inc., City of Houston’s Office of International Communities and the Organization of Chinese Americans.

By utilizing the new award-winning CitizenshipWorks online platform in a computer-based workshop, service providers and volunteers will quickly guide greater numbers of aspiring citizens through the citizenship application process. The workshops also offer dozens of participants the valuable opportunity to receive pro-bono legal consultations, eligibility screening and civics and English study materials.

Contact the Campaign site leader in Houston for more information at Houston@newamericanscampaign.org.

WHEN: Series of CitizenshipWorks Workshops, starting Tuesday, January 22nd.

Culminating in a Citizenship & Immigration Forum on Saturday, January 26th, 10am-12pm

WHERE:

Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center

6500 Rookin St

Houston, TX 77074

WHY:   Over eight million immigrants are currently legal residents and qualify for U.S. citizenship based on their ‘green card’ status (which allows them to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis).  Yet, only eight percent of them become citizens each year. They face a range of barriers, including high application fees and a complex citizenship process that can take up to two years to complete.  Many also fall victim to unscrupulous attorneys and notaries who take advantage of individuals seeking legal assistance.

The Houston organizations are part of an unprecedented national network of legal service providers, faith-based organizations, community leaders and foundations that is paving a better road to the critical achievement of citizenship. “The New Americans Campaign” is paving a better road for aspiring-Americans to achieve the dream of becoming a citizen by modernizing and streamlining access to citizenship-support services.

The Campaign is focusing its efforts in the cities of Houston, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Jose. More than 3.3 million citizenship-eligible residents live in these eight metropolitan areas, representing more than 40 percent of the pool of citizenship-eligible legal permanent residents in the United States, with an estimated 300,000 eligible residents in Harris County alone.

Posted on January 25, 2013

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More