NEW YORK— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Office of the Mayor of New York City have joined forces to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts in the City of New York. The new partnership began today as part of a signed letter of agreement between USCIS Director Léon Rodríguez and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. The agreement will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2018.
“USCIS is proud to collaborate with Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in a meaningful community partnership to help permanent residents learn more about citizenship and the naturalization process,” said USCIS Director Léon Rodríguez. “The Statue of Liberty is one of our nation’s greatest symbols of welcome, while the public libraries are the city’s most welcoming resources. Now more than ever, New Yorkers can begin their journey to U.S. citizenship at their local libraries. It is fitting that we sign this agreement with the city so close to Ellis Island, and with its own rich history as a beacon for new Americans.”
New York City, the New York public library systems and other city agencies have supported immigrants for many years; however, this initiative formally establishes “New Americans Corners” in all branches of the Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library systems. These libraries will support permanent residents by offering citizenship and English as a Second Language classes, along with tools and resources to help them prepare for the naturalization interview and test.
“These new, creative partnerships will spread our message far and wide that the City is on the side of new Americans, and we are ready to help immigrants who are eligible to achieve U.S. citizenship,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We know that citizenship opens up opportunities – opportunities to vote, to get a better job, to feel more like a part of the community – and we want to support our immigrant friends and neighbors however we can.”
As the largest city in the United States, New York is home to immigrants from more than 190 countries. Since 2004, more than 1.1 million permanent residents have become U.S. citizens in the New York City metropolitan area.
USCIS and the City of New York also plan to:
- Provide citizenship information through the City of New York and public library websites;
- Expand community partnerships to hold naturalization information sessions throughout the City of New York;
- Offer training on the naturalization process to library staff members; and
- Raise public awareness of immigration services scams.
New York is USCIS’ fifth municipal partner, joining Los Angeles, Chicago, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, and Atlanta.