New American citizen Jennifer Zoeller is excited to vote next month.
Jennifer Zoeller came to the United States from her native Colombia when she was 25. She eventually married a U.S. citizen and settled into life in her adopted home. Jennifer studied English at our Washington, DC, Affiliate, Carlos Rosario School from 2011 to 2014 and took a position at the school after graduating. Although Jennifer was eligible to become a citizen in 2013, she hesitated at first because she didn’t see the urgency. But after pressure from friends and family, she decided to start the process. Given this year’s political climate, she’s really glad she did.
This national election will be the first one in which Jennifer will cast a vote. Here she is, in her own words, about why she’s voting this year, and why you should too.
This week in immigration: National Academy of Sciences releases major report on immigration economic impact; Citizenship Day activities
National Academy of Sciences Report: An expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most prestigious and respected source of independent and objective scientific analysis, released a major new report this week on The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration. Among the report’s major findings:
- Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.
- There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects overall employment levels and wages of native-born workers; research finds slight positive effects for some groups and slight negative effects on other groups of native-born workers.
- As adults, the children of immigrants are among the strongest fiscal contributors in the U.S. population, contributing more in taxes than…the rest of the native-born population.
- The population of unauthorized immigrants shrank by over a million from 2007-2009, and has remained stable since.
By Janet Hernandez, Senior Civic Engagement Project Manager, NCLR
Every year, thousands of Latinos across the country become naturalized citizens. One of those new citizens is Cleofas Hernandez, an 89-year-old woman from the Imperial Valley in California. She says that she was determined to become a citizen so that she’d be able to cast her vote on November 8.
Hernandez was a participant in TODEC (Training Occupational Development Educating Communities) Legal Center’s citizenship classes. TODEC has been serving migrant communities in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties for decades. Its mission is to empower disenfranchised immigrant communities to become economically, socially, educationally, and civically self-sufficient, while enhancing individual self-esteem.
With Citizenship Day on September 17, we are proud to announce that we have begun a new Citizenship Application Assistance Project. Affiliates in Arizona, Florida, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts will now provide application assistance to eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
NCLR has actively worked on the issue of citizenship since 1991, when we released the report Unlocking the Golden Door, calling for policy reforms and increased engagement by NCLR Affiliates to encourage Hispanic immigrants to naturalize. In 2009, we launched our Citizenship Assistance program. Over the course of two years, we worked with about 48 NCLR Affiliates, local community organizations, and several cooperating businesses to help 11,340 LPRs complete their naturalization applications. During the upcoming year, NCLR will provide subgrants, training, and technical assistance to NCLR Affiliates to expand naturalization programs.
Week Ending July 29, 2016
This week in immigration: NCLR holds its annual conference consisting of many panels and workshops focused on immigration and immigrant integration.
NCLR Annual Conference: NCLR’s Annual Conference was held this past weekend in Orlando, Florida. The conference started off with a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Field Office in Orlando. NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguía, and USCIS Southeast Regional Director Kathy Redman Field Officer welcomed nearly 90 new U.S. citizens from 36 different countries. In congratulating the country’s newest citizens, Murguía encouraged them to use their new responsibilities as citizens and cast their votes. “I want you to vote in this upcoming election,” she told the group. “Your vote now can make a difference in the direction we move our country.”
Janet Murguía with some of our newest citizens after a naturalization ceremony in Orlando
NCLR also held workshops during the conference focused on immigration legal services and immigrant integration. NCLR Affiliate, Latinos Progresando, shared their expertise in building and sustaining an immigration legal services program. In another session, NCLR Affiliates worked on completing applications to the Board of Immigration Appeals for recognition in order to provide immigration legal services.