City of Milwaukee and Advocates Encourage Push to “Naturalize 2 Million By 2022”
National Campaign Makes Wisconsin Stop
Mulwaukee, WI – The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), in partnership with the Service Employment International Union (SEIU), Voces de la Frontera, Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA) and the City of Milwaukee will hold a press conference on the “Naturalize 2 Million by 2022!” campaign in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tuesday, Mar. 15, as part of a nationwide effort to encourage two million eligible permanent residents to obtain their citizenship by the end of 2022.
“I became a U.S. citizen on November 3rd, 2020 and on November 4th, I cast my first vote,” said Rutilia Ornelas, naturalized citizen, & Voces de la Frontera member. “If you are eligible to become a citizen, please do it! With support from organizations like Voces, I was able to achieve it. Our vote is our voice! We can accomplish our goal to naturalize 2 million!”
Nationwide, more than nine million immigrants are permanent residents who are potentially eligible for citizenship, and over 55,000 of them reside in Wisconsin. In a state where elections are won by small margins, every vote counts. Newly naturalized citizens are a powerful voting bloc that could significantly impact the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections.
“Imagine a Wisconsin with 55,000 new voters,” said Nancy Flores, NPNA deputy director. “If you are a naturalized citizen: vote early, make a plan, bring a friend, and share to encourage those who have yet to become citizens how important it is for them to participate in the civic process.”
This month’s naturalization effort will build momentum for “New American Voters 2022,” a digital campaign that encourages millions of newly naturalized citizens to vote in the upcoming elections, which kicks off in the second quarter of the year.
“As a naturalized citizen myself, this is important to me and my family. Among the reasons I naturalized was because I wanted to vote, I wanted my voice to be heard,” said Primitivo Torres of Voces de la Frontera. “Everyone deserves to feel included in our democracy, regardless of status. If you have the opportunity to become a citizen today, do it! We need you to vote! In a state like Wisconsin, we know: every vote counts”
As part of the “Naturalize 2 Million by 2022” campaign, NPNA has partnered with dozens of cities, counties, and over 50 immigrant and refugee advocacy organizations throughout the country to educate and empower eligible permanent residents to become citizens. Part of the campaign’s efforts include helping eligible immigrants through the naturalization process and providing educational materials and resources to complete the U.S. citizenship test successfully. The campaign tour will travel to multiple cities, including Los Angeles, CA; McAllen, Austin, and San Antonio, TX; Chicago, IL; as well as additional cities in Maryland and New York.
Campaign advocates are uplifting the crucial protections and opportunities that naturalization provides. These benefits include protection from deportation, automatic citizenship when resident children of a naturalized parent turn 18, the ability to petition for family members to migrate, higher wages and greater economic opportunities, and the ability to vote in national, state, and local elections.
The National Partnership for New Americans is a national multiethnic, multiracial organization that represents 49 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 39 states. Its members provide large-scale services for the communities, to leverage their collective power and expertise for a national strategy.