City steps up (again) to help immigrant New Yorkers - Metro US

City steps up (again) to help immigrant New Yorkers

NYCitizenship is in its second year and has expanded to all five boroughs by adding a location in Staten Island. Photo: YouTube/NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio has not been shy when it comes to bucking President Donald Trump’s doctrine on immigration.

On Friday, the de Blasio administration announced that NYCitizenship, a public-private partnership providing free legal assistance with citizenship applications and financial counseling, will be available in all five boroughs, though all three library systems.

To assist more of New York City’s approximately 650,000 eligible residents apply for citizenship, the city is infusing $675,000 in funding from the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, and the program’s private partners have increased their grants, nearly doubling NYCitizenship’s total funding to $1.6 million, according to a press release.

“We are continuing to embrace immigrant New Yorkers with this expansion of NYCitizenship – a fitting announcement to make in Queens, the world’s borough,” de Blasio said. “In partnership with the city’s public library systems, and private donors, we’re meeting a critical need by making services to help navigate the citizenship process available in communities across the five boroughs.”

– The Bronx: Bronx Library Center (Fordham)

– Brooklyn: Kings Highway Library, New Utrecht Library, Flatbush Library, Eastern Parkway Library

– Manhattan: Inwood Library, SIBL (Science, Industry and Business Library)

– Queens: Central Library (Jamaica), Flushing Library, Jackson Heights Library, Astoria Library

– Staten Island: St. George Library

Launched in 2016, NYCitizenship was designed to provide assistance to New York’s immigrant communities in an effort to increase naturalization rates and help eligible New Yorkers access the right to vote and other benefits of citizenship.

During the program’s first year of operations, NYCitizenship’s outreach efforts helped the program reach over 9,400 individuals, assist over 1,200 people with their citizenship applications, and connect over 250 clients to financial counseling services.

“Citizenship is a win-win for cities and immigrant communities. On average, when people become citizens they are more civically engaged, earn more, are employed at a higher rate and are more likely to own a home. They also pay more in taxes. A study by the Urban Institute, a think tank founded by President Lyndon Johnson, estimated that 20 metro areas would gain a total of $2 billion in revenue if all eligible residents became citizens.”

New Yorkers can make an appointment by calling 311 to receive services including free legal assistance; eligibility screenings; application assistance; free, confidential financial counseling; and eligibility for a citizenship application fee waiver.

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