There's no feeling like hearing someone applying for citizenship say they are doing it so they can vote.
On Saturday, June 2nd, COIN and our partners (Indiana Legal Services, Hope For Tomorrow, Christ Church Cathedral, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, and Catholic Charities) hosted our second naturalization workshop of 2018. Together with over 20 volunteers we were able to help 40 legal permanent residents apply for naturalization!
A few reasons why we host naturalization workshops:
1. You read it above: voting. No matter who you vote for, the act of voting is as American as apple pie. Voting is another expression of the freedom of speech, allows us to share in our hopes and dreams for our community, and empowers us to share our voice. What a great freedom our citizenship gives us!
2. Naturalization workshops are a need in our community. The Immigrant Integration Plan from the Immigrant Welcome Center shares with us that over 60% of eligible immigrants in Indiana have not yet naturalized. There may be several reasons for a number so high, but there is no denying that low cost, accessible naturalization workshops are a need within the newcomer community.
3. When I said "low cost, accessible naturalization workshop" above, I meant it. The clinics that we have hosted have been free of charge, in a location that is accessible and central to a large number of immigrant families. The cost to apply for naturalization is $725, without added attorney fees or a fee waiver. Naturalization workshops allow families access to attorney review, giving them a sense of security and possibly saving them a large amount of money.
Not everyone will want to become a United States citizen; not everyone will be able to become one. That is fine. We hope that those who do become citizens of the United States feel safe, feel secure, and feel empowered. That is why we host naturalization workshops.