Increasing immigrant access to citizenship is a powerful tool for fighting poverty. Individuals, families, and the City benefit from greater citizenship rates. Many eligible immigrants have not taken steps to apply for citizenship, however, because of cost, lack of access to legal advice, or other obstacles. For this reason, MOIA is committed to promoting immigrants’ access to citizenship through a range of innovative partnerships and initiatives.
New Americans Corners
In June 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new partnership to strengthen citizenship education and awareness in New York City, together with the City’s three public library systems.
Under the partnership, the City, USCIS, and the libraries have set up New Americans Corners in all 217 library branches in the five boroughs. Libraries are important community centers that immigrants trust and turn to for immigration and assistance.
Through the New Americans Corners, library visitors will be able to access information and resources about citizenship, as well obtain information about financial empowerment, and entrepreneurship support.
This partnership is based on signed letters of agreement between Mayor de Blasio, USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez, and the presidents of the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn to demonstrate their commitment to this joint effort to promote citizenship. The agreements set the stage for increased coordination, as well as the provision of additional materials and trainings, among the partners.
Cities for Citizenship
Cities for Citizenship (C4C) is a national initiative aimed at encouraging cities across the country to invest in citizenship programs and increase naturalization rates.
C4C was launched in the fall of 2014 and is chaired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, with support from the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans. Citi Community Development is the Founding Corporate Partner.
The effort has expanded to include 18 cities, including the nation’s largest cities, as well as partners in labor and the private sector.
In the press:
Cities for Citizenship Launch
New Americans Corners Launch