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Awards ‘America is Home’ Grants To 14 Cities To Promote Naturalization, As Mayors From Over 68 Cities Across The Nation Participate In Events To Foster Citizenship And Highlight Benefits

Washington DC  – To celebrate “Citizenship Day” on September 17, the  Cities For Citizenship (C4C) network will announce a major push by mayors across the U.S. to support new Americans in their efforts to become U.S. citizens. C4C will host 51 events with mayors and officials from over 68 cities nationwide to encourage more lawful permanent residents to become citizens. Cities for Citizenship will also announce the first grants in a four-year, $5 million naturalization effort to 14 cities in non-traditional destinations for new Americans. In addition, C4C co-chair Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles will release their “America is Home” report which highlights the many economic benefits of naturalization through research and local case studies. The report is released in conjunction with C4C partners, Citi Community Development, the National Partnership for New Americans, and the Center for Popular Democracy.

“The barriers for eligible immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens are very high,” said Eva Millona, NPNA co-chair and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA); an ‘America is Home’ grantee. “We are happy that the mayors of this nation are stepping forward to support new Americans as they go through the beautiful process of becoming citizens and full participants in our democracy.”

America is Home is a four-year program to help municipalities and community partners encourage U.S. citizenship among eligible immigrants and increase naturalization application rates.

“Salt Lake County welcomes and supports new citizens, and we recognize their economic and cultural contributions,’’ said Mayor Ben McAdams of Salt Lake County, Utah, one of the 14 jurisdictions to receive the grant. “By bringing together community partners to join our effort, Salt Lake County has built a strong support network for residents who are on the path towards citizenship.  We understand that through the support of the whole community, the American Dream can be shared with so many of our friends and neighbors.”

Over the next four years, America is Home is re-granting funds to 45 partnerships between municipalities and community organizations across the country to support new and emerging naturalization efforts. The awards are two-year challenge grants of $25,000 or $40,000  issued annually to launch innovative, local citizenship campaigns. The grants are to be distributed in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and will support partnerships between community-based organizations and mayors’ offices to support new and emerging naturalization efforts in cities across the nation. The “America is Home” program is offered in cooperation with the New Americans Campaign.

C4C America is Home 2018 Grantee Organizations & Cities:

  • CASA – York, Pennsylvania
  • Catholic Charities of Idaho – Boise, Idaho
  • Colorado Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (CIRC) – Denver, Colorado
  • Comunidades Unidas – Salt Lake County, Utah
  • El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos – Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA) – Birmingham, Alabama
  • Immigrant Welcome Center – Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Inc – Louisville, Kentucky
  • Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) – Lawrence, Lowell & Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Somos Un Pueblo Unido – Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Voces de la Frontera – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • YWCA Tulsa – Tulsa, Oklahoma

Citizenship Day Events Throughout the Country

This September, 68 cities, counties and organizations already part of the C4C effort, will host more than 50 naturalization workshops and events in cities in celebration of Citizenship Day.  

September 15th in Tulsa, OK – Citizenship Day “Scavenger Hunt” with the City of Tulsa, YWCA & local organizations

  • Full day Scavenger Hunt that will include local landmarks and highlight areas regional spots, such as the citizenship corners at local libraries.

September 17th in Montgomery County, MD –  Citizenship Scholarship Application & Citizenship Corners Ribbon – Cutting Ceremony

September 18th in Philadelphia – Naturalization Ceremony at Phillies Game with the Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office

  • Naturalization ceremony taking place at Citizens Bank Park prior to the Phillies game. The newly naturalized citizens will be recognized on the field following the ceremony. Participants will then be able to enjoy America’s pastime with their families as the Phillies play the New York Mets.

C4C Releases “America is Home Report”: Benefit for Individuals and Communities

As part of the Citizenship Day celebration, C4C is launching the report titled “America is Home: How Individuals, Families, Cities & Counties Benefit by Investing in Citizenship,” which demonstrates, through research and case studies, the many economic benefits of naturalization in cities and counties across the country.

For instance, among those who naturalized one to two years ago, their incomes rose by 5 to 7 percent. That represents approximately $2,200 in average additional earnings for someone in a year. Among individuals who naturalized 12-17 years ago, there were even larger earnings.

“Numerous studies have shown that the incomes of immigrants rise significantly after naturalizing,” said Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director of National Partnership for New Americans “The earnings gap between naturalized immigrants and non-citizen immigrants exists even with differences in education, regional labor markets, and language ability taken into account.”

“Nearly 70 cities and counties have joined Cities for Citizenship since 2014, enabling tens of thousands of eligible immigrants to attain the economic and social benefits of naturalization,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance. “From increased household income to greater access to homeownership and other pathways to opportunity, this report highlights the significant benefits that support for naturalization can bring both for immigrant households and the communities they live in.”

“In Cambridge, we believe that our diversity strengthens us. Increased pathways to citizenship bolster our economy and benefit us all,” said the mayor for Cambridge, Mass. Marc C. McGovern. “As a city, Cambridge is proud to be home to a vibrant immigrant population, and we remain committed to ensuring our residents have the resources and support they need on their path to citizenship.”

According to the report, these potential earnings increases mean that if every working age person who is eligible to naturalize became a U.S. citizen, this would result in $9 billion in additional income at their current jobs.

“Boise doesn’t welcome our newcomers just out of goodwill and the bottom line,” said Mayor Dave Bieter, of Boise, ID. “We also do so because we understand that the constant addition of new and energized people from many places around the world is this country’s oxygen.”

Citizenship also affects homeownership

Census data shows that naturalized citizens are more than 30 percent more likely than non-citizens to be homeowners (66 percent vs. 34 percent). With naturalization, home ownership increases by 6.3 percentage points. In addition to a host of benefits for individuals, naturalization can have important macroeconomic benefits for local communities. These include growth in spending power, higher GDP, and increased tax revenues, all of which can boost local economies.
Cities for Citizenship is a bipartisan effort committed to building economically robust and welcoming cities for the 8.8 million Legal Permanent Residents, or green card holders, eligible for citizenship. It enables cities to expand naturalization and financial capability programs, as well as access to legal assistance, microloans and financial counseling.

In 2017, Cities for Citizenship network made an impressive impact through naturalization outreach, application assistance, and financial empowerment services that were integrated with naturalization efforts. The 2017 Cities 4 Citizenship Annual Partner Survey demonstrates the national scale of these activities:

  • Over 712,720 Lawful Permanent Residents were reached through naturalization outreach and communication campaigns
  • Over 11,450 Lawful Permanent Residents were assisted with their citizenship application via naturalization workshops
  • Over 14,000 Lawful Permanent Residents were assisted with financial empowerment services

Since C4C’s inception in 2014, C4C cities and counties have been at the forefront of this effort, helping to lead the way in creating scalable naturalization programs and policies that can be replicated across the country.