In the United States, an estimated 8.2 million immigrants are currently eligible for citizenship. More than half live in California (2.5 million), New York (950,000), and Texas (900,000). And in over a dozen other states—including Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, Washington, and North Carolina—there are at least 100,000 naturalization-eligible persons.
Naturalization brings significant social, economic, and civic benefits not only to newcomers and their families but also to local communities, individual states, and the country as a whole. However, in order to help large numbers of immigrants become U.S. citizens, national, state, and local funders must work together to build a stronger immigrant integration infrastructure that expands access to immigration legal services, citizenship application assistance, and English language instruction.
Grantmaking colleagues from around the country joined GCIR’s first webinar of 2012 to learn about GCIR’s national citizenship initiative as well as:
- Never-before-released federal data (from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) on naturalization-eligible immigrants by county and metropolitan area in the United States.
- The economic impact of citizenship, using preliminary methods to gauge potential gains in immigrant income.
- Opportunities to partner with funding colleagues and leverage philanthropic investments.
- New technology to help promote citizenship, including a demonstration of CitizenshipWorks, which provides online tools and resources for applicants and the nonprofit providers that assist them.
- Manuel Pastor, Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California.
- Leslie Dorosin, Chief Financial Officer and Immigrant Program Director, Grove Foundation, Geri Mannion, Program Director, U.S. Democracy and Special Opportunities Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Manuel Santamaria, Grantmaking Director, Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
- Matthew Burnett, Director, Immigration Advocates Network (IAN is a co-creator of CitizenshipWorks, with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Pro Bono Net).
For more information about this program, please contact GCIR’s Director of Special Projects, Felecia Bartow.