On June 11, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a partnership with the City of Nashville to promote citizenship. Part of the agreement includes the establishment of “New Americans Corners” in five Nashville public libraries and four community centers in the city. In these “New Americans Corners, immigrants will find the citizenship application, citizenship and ESL books that may be borrowed, guides for using the library’s online ESL and citizenship test tools, and citizenship study materials prepared by USCIS. There are also lists of organizations where immigrants may find free or low cost legal assistance.
In addition to the physical spaces being made available, the library has launched an online resource for ESL, with links to online classes that can be accessed with a library card, as well as downloadable materials and books, CDs, and DVDs that can be reserved. The online tool also has informational and study materials on citizenship.
Some of the libraries will offer English and citizenship classes. The Nashville Public Library is looking for partner organizations to offer English, citizenship, and other classes.
Nashville’s Mayor, Karl Dean, notes in an op-ed in the Tennessean that June is Immigrant Heritage Month in Nashville. This project will close an information gap for some of Nashville’s 21,000 immigrants who are eligible for citizenship, because the city’s libraries and community centers reach people who otherwise have little contact with city government.
Nashville has one of the fastest-growing foreign-born populations in the country. Today, nearly one in eight residents is foreign-born. The city joints Chicago and Los Angeles as municipal citizenship outreach partners with USCIS.