Voto Latino will help promote and test the next generation online platform from Citizenshipworks, which is designed to help lawful permanent residents negotiate the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens.
Citizenshipworks 2.0 was developed by New Americans Campaign partners Pro Bono Net and Immigration Advocates Network, leaders in the innovative use of technology to increase access to legal assistance and reduce language, geographic and economic barriers for low- and moderate-income immigrant communities, in collaboration with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a nonprofit leader in training, education and advocacy to advance immigrant rights.
The new version of the Citizenshipworks.org platform, which includes a mobile app, was developed with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and other funders supporting the New Americans Campaign. It will allow lawful permanent residents to verify their eligibility and complete their naturalization forms on their own or, if needed, connect to nonprofit legal providers in their area.
This next generation platform will be promoted through a new partnership with Voto Latino, a non-partisan non-profit that engages Latinos through technology and media in order to drive civic engagement. Initially, outreach and testing will focus on the New York area, with New Americans Campaign partners providing supporting legal services, but the goal is to release the platform and mobile app nationally by midyear.
“Voto Latino provides Latino Millennials the tools and information they need to navigate America for themselves- this includes educating lawful permanent residents in the citizenship process,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino. “We’re excited to launch this new program with the New Americans Campaign and to work with Pro Bono Net and Immigration Advocates Network. By using their expertise, we hope to make the citizenship process clearer and attainable for so many aspiring Americans,” said Kumar.
“Research shows that large numbers of young people who are eligible to naturalize are not taking the final step to become U.S. citizens. We are excited by the opportunity to partner with Voto Latino to develop effective digital strategies to reach young immigrants and their families, and help them take advantage of the benefits of citizenship, including the right to vote,” said Mark O’Brien, co-founder and executive director of Pro Bono Net.
“Knight Foundation’s mission is to promote informed and engaged communities,” said Benjamin de la Peña, director of community and national strategy for Knight Foundation, one of the funders of the New Americans Campaign. “Naturalization gives lawful permanent residents the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, allowing them to become fully engaged in their communities.”
Organizations will be able to use the Citizenshipworks platform to increase outreach and services in ways never before possible. Other features include optional legal review by trusted non-profit service providers and information on the application process in English and Spanish, including a mobile app with practice tests for the citizenship interview.