Monday, September 24, 2012

USCIS Announces "Citizenship Corners" for L.A. Libraries

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Wednesday, September 19, 2012, a new initiative to provide the Los Angeles Public Library's 73 locations with citizenship resources and training for library staff. This initiative further expands upon the agency and city’s partnership announced in January 2010 to strengthen and enhance local immigrant integration efforts. 
“Today we take a further step to expand citizenship resources for immigrants in Los Angeles by providing information about the naturalization process in libraries,” said Mayorkas. “We are proud to yet again partner with Mayor Villaraigosa and the City of Los Angeles on this important initiative and to support immigrants on their journey to become American citizens.”
 Some highlights of this new initiative include:
*               Training for library personnel on the naturalization process and available USCIS resources;
*               Designating space in each library as ‘citizenship corners,’ which will contain citizenship material and resources;
*               Offering a list of non-profit groups providing naturalization assistance in the local community; and
*               Providing access to library community rooms for citizenship and English language classes.
As the second largest city in the country, Los Angeles is home to immigrants from more than 140 countries who speak 224 languages. The State of California is home to nearly 3.4 million permanent residents, 2.5 million of whom are estimated to be eligible to apply for naturalization. 
“This joint initiative expands our efforts to educate the city’s immigrant community about citizenship and establishes our libraries as local citizenship information centers,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “We are excited about the opportunity to support the many immigrants and their families that hope to one day achieve their goal of U.S. citizenship.”
USCIS and the City of Los Angeles first established a partnership when they signed a Letter of Agreement for a two-year pilot project. Originally scheduled to conclude in January 2012, the two parties renewed the agreement for an additional year in April 2012.

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