With the next year’s presidential election around the corner, the White House officials have announced the start of a nationwide campaign to encourage legal immigrants to become American citizens.
The numbers speak for themselves: there are 13.3 million legal permanent residents in the United States, out of which 8.8 million are eligible to apply for citizenship. As most of them are Latino, it is expected that they are going to vote for Democrats.
“If you are eligible, commit to become a citizen today. It is an important step for you, and an important step for our nation. Join us. Together we can make America to stand even stronger.” said President Barack Obama
Obama administration officials met in Los Angeles on 29th of January with Mayor Eric Garcetti, local nonprofits and business owners to discuss ways to encourage immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
“To launch forward we must return to our core values as Americans and even in these tough times strive to embrace our role as a nation of immigrants, a nation of dreamers, a nation of hope,” Garcetti said on Twitter about the meeting, which was closed to the public.
Julie Chavez Rodriguez, senior deputy director in the White House Office of Public Engagement said that the meeting will allow federal officials and members of Garcetti’s staff to coordinate with local leaders. Moreover, it is focused on how the federal government can make it easier for new citizens to integrate into the life of Americans, according to the White House.
She also added that “Starting in California is a perfect kickoff from our perspective.” And that’s because in recent years, California has repeatedly tried to provide rights and benefits to immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally. Benefits include in-state tuition, driver’s licenses and state-funded healthcare for children.
Garcetti added his own thought into it and said that the 2015 program named Step Forward LA has helped 45.000 people to become citizens. Moreover, he said that there are an estimated 350.000 legal permanent residents in Los Angeles who are eligible to apply for citizenship but haven’t done so, yet. On a bigger scale, the number reaches 750.000.
The meeting was split into two panels, said Garcetti’s spokesman Connie Llanos. The first one was on ways to reach and engage potential new citizens, whilst the second one was on how they can be integrated into the American culture by learning English, finding jobs and registering to vote.
“A huge barrier to folks trying to become citizens is not having access to the right resources and being daunted by the process,” Llanos said
In this matter, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin to allow credit card payments of the $680 naturalization fee and expand its mobile services to rural communities through a new partnership with the Agriculture Department. Moreover, they will also launch an online U.S. civics and history practice test which is a mandatory requirement for green-card holders who want to become citizens.
Given these facts, it seems as if they are doing everything they can to get more American citizens. All of a sudden, they are willing to lower the level and ease the requirements so that everyone who is eligible to get the citizenship. They are over encouraging everyone who is eligible to go get the citizenship. Is this only a thoughtful gesture for the well-being of the U.S. or is there something more behind that?
Do you think that this is a political action? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.