Listen to this interview broadcasted by KALW Local Public Radio in SF featuring Melissa Rodgers, ILRC Director of Programs, as she discusses how the New Americans Campaign is working to encourage LPRs to apply for citizenship sooner rather than later. The New Americans Campaign is an innovative and unprecedented effort that brings together a coalition of funders, leading national immigration and service organizations, and several dozen local service providers across 17 different sites to help aspiring Americans reach their dream of citizenship. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is the lead organization for the New Americans Campaign.
The form to become a U.S. citizen was updated in February, and is now twice as long and more complex than the previous one. The price to apply for citizenship has gone up from $200 in 2000, to $680 today. That means a family of four will have to pay more than $2,700 to apply. This is one reason so many eligible immigrants are putting off citizenship. Here’s a quote from Melissa, as she describes the work of the New Americans Campaign, “We have helped over 100,000 people apply for citizenship. By helping people with fee waivers, we've saved communities over 89 million dollars. I think it's really important for people who are living in this country to have the right to fully belong, and that's what citizenship gives you. It's a right of belonging that can't be taken away.”