2019 Citizenship Day Offers Free Legal Services to Local Residents Eligible for U.S. Citizenship

Citizenship Opens the Door to Opportunities and Civic Engagement

​SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—The County of Santa Clara and the City of San José are joining forces with community groups and immigrant rights advocates as Project New Citizen to ensure local immigrants have the resources they need to become U.S. citizens. Project New Citizen is a collaborative effort to support Santa Clara County residents in their journey toward citizenship. The collaborative estimates that about 100,000 legal permanent residents (green card holders) in Santa Clara County are eligible to become citizens but have not yet applied.

Project New Citizen is hosting a Free Citizenship Workshop at San Jose City College on Saturday, April 13, with several morning sessions. The workshop is open to anyone who wants to become a citizen. For information regarding documents individuals interested in becoming citizens will need to bring, visit https://www.e-immigrate.info/register/ or call (408) 444-9975.

“We look forward to our upcoming Santa Clara County’s Citizenship Day, which is about bringing people together, building a community of new Americans, and celebrating our residents’ pathway to citizenship,” said Deputy County Executive David Campos, who leads the County of Santa Clara Office of Immigrant Relations. “Project New Citizen’s mission is to foster a county where immigrants are welcome and have a sense of belonging. It is one of the most unique and comprehensive efforts in the United States and we are excited to be part of the event on April 13.”

The services offered are safe and confidential and may clarify doubts or concerns about whether people should apply for citizenship now, and take advantage of this opportunity to get free, expert legal advice.

Free immigration services will be provided in 14 languages including: Arabic, Assyrian, Amharic, Dari, English, Farsi, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Services will be provided by immigration lawyers and accredited representatives, who will help to determine citizenship eligibility. They will also assist with completing applications. The application fee is $725, but applicants may qualify for a fee waiver or discount and are encouraged to bring proof of income to determine eligibility for financial assistance.

“Citizenship opens the doors to economic opportunity, civic engagement, and offers security and protection,” said Zulma Maciel, Director of the City of San Jose Office of Immigrant Affairs. “We want local immigrants have the tools they need to become citizens so they can fully participate in our community. You can trust that the legal advice you get at the workshop is provided by legitimate immigration attorneys and accredited representatives who know the law.”

WHEN:

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Sessions scheduled at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

WHERE:

San Jose City College

2100 Moorpark Ave, San Jose, CA 95128

REGISTRATION:

Call (408) 444-9975 or online at https://www.e-immigrate.info/register/

BACKGROUND

There are many benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen. Citizenship helps bring families together, without the fear of being deported and having families torn apart. Citizens have a better chance of bringing family members to the U.S. Citizens can obtain a passport and travel without fear of losing their residency status. Citizenship gives the ability to vote in all elections and opens the opportunity for higher wages or new career choices.

To be eligible for citizenship, you need to be 18 or older, be a lawful permanent resident for five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen), have maintained continuous residence during the past five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen), have maintained physical presence during the past five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen), have good moral character, have basic knowledge of U.S. history and civics, be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance, and be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

The Department of Homeland Security has recently proposed changing the rule about who may be considered a “public charge.” However, the new rule has not yet gone into effect, and it would not apply to most permanent residents seeking citizenship. If you have received public benefits in the past or receive them now, you may still qualify for citizenship and may benefit from the free workshop and apply.

Project New Citizen is a collaborative effort by the County of Santa Clara Office of Immigrant Relations, Asian Law Alliance, Catholic Charities, Center for Employment Training, and PARS Equity Center. Financial partners include the County of Santa Clara Office of Immigrant Relations, the City of San José Office of Immigrant Affairs, New Americans Campaign, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the sixth largest county in California. With a $7 billion budget, more than 70 agencies/departments and 20,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services including public health and environmental protection, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, parks, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.

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Media Contact: Jane LeFevre, (408) 888 - 6979, [email protected]Carolyn Lê, Office of Immigrant Relations (408) 373-1725 [email protected]​​​​​

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