Every year, there are thousands of lawful permanent residents eligible to become citizens. According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Massachusetts had 200,000 lawful permanent residents eligible to naturalize in 2013. Now, Boston has decided to make a change to provide assistance to permanent residents.
Earlier this month, the city of Boston and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) signed a letter of agreement to expand a partnership to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts in their communities.
“USCIS is proud to partner with Mayor Walsh to provide immigrants with greater access to information and resources as they pursue the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship here in ‘The Cradle of Liberty’,” said (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez. “We look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians and other city services in providing tools to help immigrants contribute to a thriving, welcoming and innovative Boston.”
According to USCIS, the Boston Public Library branches will establish “Citizenship Corners” to make USCIS citizenship preparation materials more accessible to people throughout the city. USCIS plans to provide training to librarians and city officials about the naturalization process and the free preparation resources available to immigrants who come to local public libraries in search of information.
“There could be no better time for this kind of effort,” said Mayor Walsh. “Like so many places in our country, Boston is becoming more diverse, and this agreement will further the work being done by USCIS and our Office of New Bostonians, which is vitally important to our future.”
Under the agreement signed at City Hall, USCIS and the city of Boston also plan to:
- Provide citizenship information through schools, community centers and other city facilities.
- Expand community partnerships to hold naturalization information sessions throughout Boston.
- Broadcast citizenship education videos and public service announcements highlighting the letter of agreement on the city’s public access television station, Boston City TV, and city websites.
- Raise awareness of how to avoid immigration scams.
In addition to Boston, there are 5 cities that have agreed to join this initiative: Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and New York City.
Congratulations to Boston and Mayor Walsh in recognizing the growing immigrant population for creating these open spaces to learn about the citizenship process within their own communities. This is a great step forward to support the successful integration of immigrants into American society.