Mayors pass a resolution urging permanent residents to take the next step

SAN FRANCISCO — Half a dozen U.S. cities are taking the next step in helping their legal permanent residents take the next step towards citizenship.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution at its 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas urging the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make policy changes in order to allow more eligible green-card holders to become citizens.

“It is in the interest of the federal government and especially USCIS to reduce fees for citizenship applicants and to minimize barriers to naturalization by offering alternatives like a sliding-scale income based approach or family unit fee,” the resolution states in part.

The resolution was co-sponsored by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, and was introduced by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“The contribution of immigrants have long strengthened our communities and our economy,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “America’s Mayors call on USCIS to open the floodgates of opportunity by paving the way for more lawful permanent residents to become U.S. citizens.”

“An investment in immigrant integration pays dividends not just for immigrants and their families, but for our nation as a whole,” said Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director of the National Partnership for New Americans.

“Study after study shows that the benefits of citizenship extend beyond the individual and have impact on the local economy as a whole” said Eric Cohen, Executive Director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the lead organization for the New Americans Campaign. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors is recognizing that the future of American cities is tied to welcoming immigrants.”