The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that more than $9 million in grant funds will be made available to 42 organizations from 27 states and the District of Columbia. The money is earmarked for citizenship preparation programs for permanent residents in the designated communities across the country. At a time when immigration doctrine is under fire for what many people perceive to be a broken system that is often unevenly applied, it is gratifying to see that money is being spent to help individuals and families prepare for civic integration and citizenship among permanent residents.
The grant funds are officially called the FY 2011 Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services Grant Program. One recipient, the Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach Inc in Brooklyn will receive $200,000. The money will be spent on providing citizenship education to permanent residents whose English skills are minimal. The grant will also allow for some naturalization application services, and it is anticipated that 300 permanent residents will receive instruction in Brooklyn, and about 240 will submit naturalization applications.
All told the grants across the country are expected to help some 20,000 permanent residents prepare for their US citizenship. Of course, there are many more whose applications are pending, as well as others who have legal issues surrounding immigration matters that they do not know how to solve. In the District of Columbia, an attorney devoted to helping individuals and families reach for their dreams may offer some much needed support and help navigate an immigration system sometimes known for its confounding complexity.
Source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "Shorefront Y Receives Grant From U.S. Citizenship, Immigration Services," Brooklyn Eagle, Oct. 3, 2011