LOS ANGELES, CA, February 1, 2017 – In reaction to the latest attempts by the Trump Administration to curtail the freedoms and rights of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), immigrants, and refugees, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest immigrant rights organization in California, launched Tuesday a naturalization effort titled “Protect Your Future Now – 100 Days of Citizenship” (in Spanish, the campaign is called “Defiende tu Futuro Ya – 100 Días de Ciudadanía”).
The goal is to encourage the more than 2.2 million Californians who qualify to become US citizens to apply now. Nationally, a little over 8.5 million people qualify to naturalize.
“While President Trump uses his first 100 days to create chaos and trample on our constitutional liberties and nation’s values, we are starting 100 days of active citizenship to help those who qualify to apply, free of charge,” stated Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director.
“Only citizenship protects you and your family from the whims of a reckless Administration. Protect your future in this country, become a US citizen because no one can take that away from you,” added Ms. Salas.
As part of this 100-day effort, CHIRLA will offer free-of-cost naturalization services to applicants who qualify. An initial legal consultation is required and is offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. For more information, please contact CHIRLA at (888) 624-4752.
The naturalization process includes paying for the $640 citizenship application fee plus $85 for a background check, also known as the biometrics fee. Applicants 75 years of age or older need not pay the biometrics fee. There is no fee for military applicants.
“We will work with each applicant and help them fill out and submit the necessary waivers and forms if paying for the application fee is a concern,” stated Luis Perez, CHIRLA’s legal services director.
USCIS grants fee waivers for those who cannot afford the naturalization application fees. Applicants can submit written requests for fee waivers explaining the reason for their request. Those receiving public benefits like CalWorks, SSI, or MediCal and whose families earn less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level are more likely to become eligible for fee waivers.
LPRs whose Green Card has been valid during the 5 years prior can file for US citizenship. If a person is married to a US citizen, he/she may apply for US citizenship after 3 years with a valid Green Card.
As part of the naturalization process, a person must take a civics test in English and take an oath of allegiance. The exceptions to the English requirement include: a) applicant is 50 or older at the time of filing application and has lived as an LPR in the US for 20 years. B) applicant is 55 or older at the time of filing application and has lived as an LPR in the US for 15 years.
Some benefits of becoming a US citizen include right to vote, bring loved ones to the US, obtain citizenship for children born abroad, travel with a US passport, become eligible for federal jobs, and show your patriotism without the fear of having your immigration status revoked.