Immigrants to this country are generally finding their futures seriously impacted, and sometimes placed on hold, by partisan politics. One example is the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program.
Two years ago, President Obama announced DAPA, which was designed to help prevent millions of people in this country from being deported. However, the program has been stymied by Republican members of Congress. Its fate is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Groups Organizing to Help People Become Citizens, Become Voters
With the heated political debate over the rights of immigrants, efforts to fight Obama's immigration policies and presidential nominee Donald Trump's harsh rhetoric about immigrants (those from Mexico in particular), immigration advocates, including union organizers and non-profit groups, are turning their attention to helping legal permanent residents apply for citizenship. These advocates are holding events where they help people complete applications and even show them how to vote.
Voting is a big part of this push to help people become citizens. If the 8 million-plus legal permanent residents (over 2 million in California alone) gain citizenship and voting rights, it could have a significant impact on government at all levels. This political power is a big part of what's behind the millions of dollars being spent to help immigrants become citizens.
Anti-Immigrant Policies Regularly Spur Action
One immigration advocate notes that increases in the number of people applying for citizenship (despite the daunting $700 application fee) often occur after anti-immigrant measures such as Proposition 187, which was approved in 1994 by California voters. That measure, eventually ruled unconstitutional, denied social services to people not in the country legally. This is another one of those times. In fact, one workshop was titled, "Protect Yourself Now!"
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti even started a campaign last year to increase citizenship. Speaking at one of these citizenship fairs, Garcetti cited "hate" and "Trumpism" as reasons why those who are eligible should seek citizenship.
Experienced Legal Guidance Can Ease the Process
Events like these citizenship fairs are no doubt helpful in advising people on how to become citizens. However, an experienced citizenship attorney can work with you individually every step of the way and help with any issues specific to your situation, or that of a loved one, that may arise.
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