By Agatha So, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR
Senior Counselor Dora Beltran talking with participants in the citizenship program, held at our Affiliate CARECEN in Washington, DC.
Building wealth is essential for Latinos to achieve financial prosperity today, and is essential to the prosperity of generations to come. That’s why NCLR works with nearly 300 community-based Affiliates across the country to help Latinos improve their credit, increase their savings, and build wealth. The Washington, DC-based Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), a member of the NCLR Homeownership Network (NHN), is a pioneer in offering financial capability services for Latino families. As we continue Financial Capability Month, we’re proud to feature the work of Anabell Martinez, Housing Director at CARECEN.
Martinez and the CARECEN staff focus on how they can empower Latino families to make informed financial decisions. “For many clients coming to CARECEN for financial counseling, it’s the first time they hear about making a budget,” said Martinez. She understands the need for financial capability because she knows what kind of questions Latino families have about building wealth and the difficulties they face to protect what they have earned.
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.