In the past three months, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has added three cities to its Citizenship Outreach Partnerships.
On April 23, USCIS announced the signing of a letter of agreement with the City of Atlanta to promote citizenship awareness. In the letter of agreement, USCIS and Atlanta committed to, among other things: co-sponsor naturalization information sessions; provide information on citizenship through public facilities; provide information on how to avoid immigration scams; encourage a community-wide approach to immigrant integration; and implement multiple outreach efforts to reach the broad spectrum of the immigrant population with information about citizenship.
USCIS will provide training on the naturalization process to staff members of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the city will establish “Citizenship Corners” at library branches. The Citizenship Corners initiative, which disseminates accurate information about the naturalization process through public libraries, was pioneered by the New Americans Campaign and the Los Angeles Public Library.
A similar agreement with the City of New York was announced June 10. In New York, a parallel agreement between the city and its public library systems will incorporate USCIS citizenship information and information from the city’s Department of Small Business Services in “New Americans Corners” in all 217 library branches. The New Americans Corners will provide information and resources about citizenship, financial empowerment and entrepreneurship, according to a release from the city.
On June 16, Boston was added to the municipal partnership network. In the Boston agreement, the city’s outreach will include disseminating citizenship information through the city’s City Hall To Go service, a mobile services program.
The partnerships between USCIS and municipalities help to spread accurate information on citizenship. With a municipal partnership, information can be provided at a variety of municipal facilities used by immigrants, such as libraries, schools and community centers. Information can also be disseminated via city websites and local public access cable television.
Lack of information about citizenship can be a barrier that prevents some lawful permanent residents from becoming citizens. These municipal partnerships have the potential to reduce this barrier and to increase the number of LPRs gaining citizenship. We look forward to seeing more partnerships between USCIS and welcoming cities in the coming weeks.