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Mega citizenship event to help hundreds of immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Diana Iglesias, Florida New Americans, 786-505-1255, diana@floridaimmigrant.org

Members of Congress join with organizations to promote citizenship for legal permanent residents

Miami, Fla. — South Florida community organizations joined Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski in opening registration for a Citizenship Mega Workshop earlier this month. Organizers aim to provide 1,000 residents who want to naturalize with free assistance at the event on June 22 at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus.

As immigration reform is debated in Washington, the South Florida Congressional Delegation has worked across party lines to support this Citizenship Mega Workshop that would benefit many constituents. Rep. Frederica Wilson and Rep. Joe Garcia, who are confirmed to be in attendance, have encouraged eligible constituents to register in advance. According to the latest statistics, only about 9% of legal permanent residents eligible for naturalization in the U.S. in 2011 went on to naturalize in 2012.*

A large volunteer recruitment effort for the event is also underway. Organizers are seeking about 200 attorneys and paralegals and 300 general volunteers present to provide pro-bono help at the event.

Many immigrants face barriers to applying for citizenship, such as inability to afford the $680 application fee and limited English language proficiency. Eligible applicants will be able to complete a form to waive the application fee, bilingual volunteers will assist with translation and applicants will be able to register for citizenship classes and receive study materials for US civics and history.

Representatives from the U.S. Postal Service will also offer a pop-up post office kiosk at the Citizenship Mega Workshop to help clients mail their applications to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services directly after completion.

Organizations leading the Citizenship Mega Workshop are members of the New Americans Campaign, a national campaign in crease awareness around naturalization and barriers to citizenship. Miami Partners include the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC,www.cliniclegal.org), Hispanic Unity, Read2Succeed, Florida International University-School of Law Clinic, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and its Florida New Americans (FNA) program, Center for Immigrant Advancement (CIMA), the Miami-Dade Public Schools (MDCPS) ESOL Program, and the Bethlehem Project. This event is also supported by the National Partnership for New Americans, the Cuban American Bar Association, Haitian Lawyers Association and others.

To register and find a full list of required materials, log onto www.citizenshipflorida.org andwww.flnewamericans.org.

* Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics. Of the 8,530,000 legal permanent residents eligible to naturalize as of 2011, a total of 757,434 naturalized in 2012.

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