The United States Citizenship and immigration Services (USCIS) announced its 11th annual citizenship and assimilation grants at the end of September. Nearly $10 million dollars supporting citizenship preparation services will be divided among 41 organizations in 24 states.
Eleven of the grants, that range from $225,000 to $250,000, will be awarded to New Americans Campaign partners and affiliates. We are delighted that our colleagues will have this funding to support their efforts to help lawful permanent residents apply for citizenship.
Some of the biggest hurdles for aspiring citizens include finding trustworthy assistance to understand a daunting process. These grants help our Campaign partners throughout the U.S. provide essential legal help and host workshops where volunteers and pro bono attorneys lend a hand to assist people as they fill out and file their citizenship applications. The grant money also specifically funds assimilation assistance and educational programs that teach English language skills as well as U.S. history and civics in preparation for the citizenship test.
A new requirement this year, however, dissuaded at least a few of our partners from applying. For the first time, USCIS, will require that all grant recipients enroll in E-Verify within 30 days of receiving their funds and remain enrolled throughout the life of the grant. Grant recipients then must verify anyone newly hired to work at a funded location.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, more than $90 million in grants has been awarded. It is funding that has helped our partners and others assist more than 245,000 lawful permanent residents and refugees in 39 states and the District of Columbia prepare their citizenship applications, according to the USCIS.
We congratulate our 11 Campaign partners and affiliates who received one of this year’s awards:
- Asian Counseling and Referral Service—Seattle, WA
- BakerRipley—Houston, TX
- BPSOS Center for Community Advancement—Westminster, CA
- HIAS Pennsylvania—Philadelphia, PA
- Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota—Saint Paul, MN
- International Rescue Committee, Inc.—San Diego, CA
- International Rescue Committee, Inc.—Turlock, CA
- International Rescue Committee, Inc.—Seattle, WA
- Jewish Family Service of San Diego—San Diego, CA
- Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Inc.—Louisville, KY
- Pars Equality Center—Sherman Oaks, CA