February 13, 2013

NYC orgs partner to help green card holders become U.S. citizens

Church World Service, advocates will hold free naturalization assistance workshops for New York’s legal immigrants
Assisting Haitian Clients
Tara Pinkham, CWS IRP Legal Programs Director, assists Haitian clients. Photo: Carol Fouke-Mpoyo

***EDITORS’ NOTE: Interviews available on request with CWS immigration legal services specialists and naturalized New York residents who’ve become citizens or are now applying for citizenship.


New York City, N.Y. -- Humanitarian agency Church World Service (CWS) has joined with other New York legal service providers and nonprofit organizations as part of an unprecedented national network of businesses, faith-based organizations, community leaders and foundations who have launched a nonpartisan project to transform the system of naturalization assistance-- and to help more legal permanent immigrants become U.S. citizens.

As part of that initiative, against the backdrop of the nation’s current immigration reform agenda and tonight’s (Feb. 12) State of the Union address (102-year-old naturalized citizen will be one of First Lady’s guests for SOU address), CWS and co-sponsoring partner organizations in New York City will present two free workshops where immigrants living in New York may receive pro-bono legal assistance and related services to help them complete citizenship applications. A one-day workshop is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 23, and a two-day workshop, Feb. 27 and March 1.

Based on their green card status, more than eight million immigrants are currently legal residents (which allows them to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis), and currently qualify for U.S. citizenship.  Yet, only eight percent of them become citizens each year. They face a range of barriers, including high application fees and a complex citizenship process that can take up to two years to complete.  Many also fall victim to unscrupulous attorneys and notaries who take advantage of individuals seeking legal assistance.

CWS and co-organizers invite lawful permanent residents to attend the workshops to receive free naturalization legal services. The New York workshops are sponsored by Church World Service, International Rescue Committee and Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights. 

WHAT:

WORKSHOP 1: WORKSHOP WITH CHURCH WORLD SERVICE AND NORTHERN MANHATTAN COALITION FOR IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS

WHEN:
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Walk-ins accepted.

WHERE: 
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights
665 W. 182nd Street, 1st Floor
Between Wadsworth Ave and Broadway, Manhattan


WORKSHOP 2: A TWO-DAY WORKSHOP WITH CHURCH WORLD SERVICE AND INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE

WHEN:
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
and
Friday, March 1, 2013
Both days, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
No walk-ins accepted.  Please call for an appointment.

WHERE:
International Rescue Committee
263 W. 38th Street, 6th Floor, between 7th and 8th Avenues, Manhattan

WHY:
The workshops are paving an easier road for aspiring Americans to achieve the dream of becoming a citizen by modernizing and streamlining access to citizenship-support services. New York is home to immigrants from all over the globe.

WORKSHOP CONTACT: 
Tara Pinkham, Associate Director for Immigration
Church World Service
Phone: 212-870-2811
Email: tpinkham@churchworldservice.org