In 2014, Cities for Citizenship launched with support from visionary leaders in three cities – Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York – with a shared mission to build a more representative, responsive democracy by launching and expanding citizenship initiatives. Eight years later, Cities and Counties for Citizenship (CC4C) has a new name that reflects the network’s diversity, growth, and impact. We share this report, detailing the collective efforts of 103 localities promoting naturalization and citizenship for eligible immigrants living in the U.S., to inspire other cities and counties to join us.
This work is personal to me: I saw firsthand how naturalization opened new opportunities for my grandfather, who arrived in this country at age 16 and took his oath of citizenship nearly four decades later, at Denver’s City Park Center in 2001. Becoming a U.S. citizen cemented both his love for and roots in this country. He grew his business, purchased a home, traveled internationally after he retired, and – most importantly – never missed the opportunity to vote.
Today, more than nine million people like my grandfather – U.S. permanent residents eligible for citizenship – face economic, linguistic, and other barriers
to naturalization. As the convener of CC4C, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is committed to making this process more accessible. Serving as an NPNA legal services practitioner and now as its executive director, it is my honor to champion naturalization and citizenship in communities across the country.
Naturalization and civic engagement is key to building a multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic democracy that works for, protects, and promotes opportunity for all. As CC4C enters a new chapter of growth and transformation, we remain committed to ensuring that all who aspire to become citizens will encounter robust partnerships and the resources to help them naturalize.