For Immediate Release
February 21, 2019
Contact: Karina Martínez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858/752-1262
Mi Familia Vota and NPNA Encourage Eligible Immigrants to Apply for Citizenship and Take a Stand Against Second Wall
Mi Familia Vota Joins “One Million Citizens by 2020” Campaign and Condemns Trump’s Attacks on Citizenship
Los Angeles, CA – Mi Familia Vota (MFV), along with Julissa Arce, join national partners to call on eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to apply for citizenship and demand that the Trump Administration undo the bureaucratic bottleneck that is keeping hundreds of thousands of eligible LPRs from becoming citizens and voting in the 2020 presidential elections. Our goal is to reach one million eligible lawful permanent residents by 2020.
“This administration has orchestrated continued attacks on immigrants from all backgrounds, including those who are eligible and eager to become citizens. Our organization will continue to support eligible immigrants to apply for citizenship as soon as possible. The Trump administration should reverse course and substantially reduce the backlog of citizenship applications and the processing delays, which are keeping our beloved community members from naturalizing and being able to fully realize their civic rights,” said Cristian Avila, national civic engagement coordinator for Mi Familia Vota.
Julissa Arce, who is supporting the “One Million Citizens by 2020” campaign added, “Make no mistake that this administration is purposely attempting to suppress the immigrant citizen vote. Our community will not stand still while Trump and his supporters have encumbered our ability to belong and to fully participate as American citizens.”
There are over 750,000 citizenship applications before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency that is part of the Department of Homeland Security. This has almost doubled since 2015, with the majority of the backlog occurring under the current administration. Delays in processing these applications average over a year nationwide, with some regions exceeding 30 months.
The backlog is severe in many of the cities where MFV has ground operations. In Las Vegas, Nevada, for example, the waiting time for applications to get processed is between 15.5 to 31 months. And in Dallas, Texas, an applicant would have to wait between 16 to 20.5 months for citizenship. Processing delays are so long in some locations that many eligible LPRs are at risk of not getting through the citizenship process in time to vote in the 2020 elections.
Additional barriers to citizenship add urgency to the importance of applying for naturalization now. These include a proposed change to the citizenship fee waiver that would build a wall around citizenship based on wealth and class; the proposed changes to the N-400 form to apply for naturalization that will would make it more burdensome for applicants, the legal community and USCIS adjudicators themselves; new policy guidance making it more difficult for LPRs with disabilities to apply; and efforts by USCIS to strip citizenship away from naturalized citizens.
As the year progresses, the barriers and waiting lines to become a citizen will only get worse. MFV calls on all eligible residents to apply for naturalization as soon as they are eligible to begin the application process. Local organizations MFV are prepared to help new Americans navigate through the application process.
Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation. Mi Familia Vota has operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Texas.