The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has pledged to help more permanent residents become US citizens during the next two years.
USCIS has awarded US$10 million in grants to 46 organisations that will help permanent residents prepare and apply for US citizenship. Located in 21 states, these organizations will receive federal funding to support citizenship preparation services for permanent residents through September 2018.
Since it began in 2009, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded a total of US$63 million to public or private non-profit organisations in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Now in its eighth year, the program has helped more than 156,000 permanent residents prepare for citizenship. USCIS anticipates that an additional 37,000 permanent residents will receive citizenship preparation services by 30th September 2018 as a result of the grant program.
“There is a great need for citizenship preparation services throughout the country,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said. “Grant recipient organisations provide critical services to immigrants as they pursue their dream of US citizenship.”
The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program is a major part of USCIS’ efforts to support effective citizenship preparation services and provide information to immigrants and public or private non-profit organisations. Other efforts include the Citizenship Resource Centre, a web resource that provides learning materials to help permanent residents prepare for the naturalisation process, and USCIS’ partnerships with federal and municipal agencies. The later help raise awareness of the rights, responsibilities and importance of US citizenship among the estimated 8.8 million permanent residents nationwide eligible to apply for naturalisation.
This year, these funding opportunities included a newly created grant opportunity to assist non-profit organisations establish new citizenship instruction programs and expand the quality and reach of their existing citizenship instruction programs. Through this new program, USCIS sought to encourage the expansion of the existing field of citizenship instruction programs, particularly those offered by small, community-based organisations that have not previously received a grant from USCIS.
Article published 7th September 2016