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CHIRLA Joins NPNA in National ‘Naturalize NOW’ Campaign to Encourage Citizenship in the Inland Empire to Help Build the Future of Local Communities and the Nation


Melissa Stek, NPNA,, (616) 550-8039

Jorge-Mario Cabrera, CHIRLA,, (562) 243-5559

San Bernardino, CA – CHIRLA and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) celebrated Citizenship Day by hosting an open-to-the-public naturalization celebration and press conference to encourage eligible U.S. residents in the Inland Empire and beyond to apply for U.S. citizenship. The “Inland Empire: All In For Naturalization” event was part of the national Naturalize NOW campaign to reach out to people who are eligible for citizenship to encourage them to apply and help them navigate the process. The celebration and press conference convened following an afternoon of naturalization pre-screening appointments provided by CHIRLA to San Bernardino residents beginning their naturalization process. A recording of the press conference and celebration is available here.

There are more than 9.2 million Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) nationally that currently qualify for U.S. citizenship, and California tops the list of states with nearly 2.3 million LPRs eligible to naturalize.

Said Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA: “Over the past few decades, the Inland Empire has experienced significant changes, including the steady and consistent diversification of the community. Families have moved to the IE in search of potential opportunities. These families are multi-generational and consist of varying immigration statuses. In San Bernardino County, 108,000 adults qualify to become U.S. citizens. And we all know that citizenship can mean the power to vote and the power to craft a better future for our families and communities. That’s why CHIRLA is here to remind SB residents that we can help you take the step in your journey to make this your home.”

“NPNA’s Naturalize NOW campaign will support eligible immigrants and refugees in pursuing their dreams of becoming U.S. citizens. We must build a nation where immigrants, refugees, and all people can achieve their full social and economic potential,” said Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). “The urgency of growing our democracy and the burden the USCIS fee increases would place on future U.S. citizens are why it is so important to Naturalize NOW. Our vote is our voice and by increasing the number of people getting naturalized—in San Bernardino and beyond—we can make sure their voices are heard.”

Announced at the event was CHIRLA’s “Ciudadanía En Tus Manos” initiative, an interactive bilingual English and Spanish video study guide to prepare people for their citizenship civics exam. The video library of more than 100 videos will be open to anyone via the @ChirlaCiudadania TikTok page and will include easy-to-follow instructions, subtitles, and graphics in a looping video to allow participants to study repeatedly and with ease. This initiative is part of CHIRLA’s efforts to empower more people to become U.S. citizens. The channel officially opens today, September 14, 2023.

In San Bernardino and in cities across the nation, Naturalize NOW will equip local governments to help residents apply for U.S. citizenship, building on the leadership of NPNA’s Cities and Counties for Citizenship (CC4C) initiative. Naturalize NOW will also work with NPNA members and other community-based organizations to hire and train Community Navigators, who will be trained to promote naturalization and connect eligible applicants to resources to help them navigate the process.

The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition of 66 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations with reach across over 40 states. Together with our members, we advance immigrant and refugee equity and inclusion, build and expand immigration legal services and integration programming capacity, and drive campaigns that strengthen democracy through increased civic participation. See our website for more information at