PHILADELPHIA – Today, the City joins local and statewide immigrant service agencies and the legal community to announce the city’s participation in the New Americans Campaign (NAC), a diverse nonpartisan national network of respected immigration organizations, legal services providers, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, foundations and community leaders. The Campaign transforms the way aspiring citizens navigate the path to becoming new Americans. It is committed to connecting lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to trusted legal assistance and critical information that simplifies the naturalization process. Philadelphia was selected to be a site in NAC’s broad network to help expand naturalization across the city.
“A little over a year ago at the very first Take Action Philly Convening, I made an ask of the legal community to step up and step in on behalf of our immigrant community. In response, the Take Action Philly Immigration Clinics were formed and supported by the work of about 130 lawyers in the city that have provided pro-bono legal assistance for immigrants and refugees,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “It brings me great joy to learn that Philadelphia has been chosen by the New Americans Campaign to be a site in their program to help expand already existing naturalization efforts across the city.”
NAC has chosen to fund five non-profit organizations – HIAS PA, Catholic Social Services, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Commission (SEAMAAC), the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) and the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians – to help expand naturalization and help Philadelphia’s immigrant population become our City’s newest citizens. To accomplish this goal, the organization is working with the city to coordinate efforts and enlist help from all sectors.
“By joining forces with TAP, the organizations chosen by NAC will continue to work with both OIA and the Philadelphia Bar Association to accomplish the goal of expanding naturalizing efforts throughout the City” said Miriam Enriquez, Office of Immigrant Affairs Director. “Using the same successful framework of TAP— there will be legal screenings in neighborhoods and citizenship clinics all made possible with the help of non-profit organizations, private law firms and our local law schools. This is going to be a true collaborative effort.”
Cathryn Miller-Wilson, Executive Director of HIAS-PA adds: “HIAS-PA is pleased to be joining forces with these great organizations, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the City of Philadelphia in this critical work. Assisting those who will be the city’s newest Americans is one of the best ways that we can showcase how welcoming the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection is!”
Last January, The Philadelphia Bar Association, with the support of the City of Philadelphia and several non-profit legal aid organizations, formed Take Action Philly (TAP) – an initiative uniting lawyers, government, community organizations and residents to offer protection and assistance to our residents in need.
TAP holds free citizenship screenings in different neighborhoods throughout the city where legal permanent residents (LPRs) are advised on whether their case can proceed to the TAP clinic for the competition of their naturalization application. If so, the eligible LPR attends a scheduled clinic in Center City the following month that is staffed by volunteer attorneys who assist them in completing the required forms to become citizens.
Using the TAP framework, the organization will be scheduling approximately four legal screenings and four citizenship clinics between now and June at sites across the city. Attorneys can sign up to volunteer by completing this FORM. Non-attorneys interested in volunteering can complete an information form HERE. The first clinic is scheduled for March 24, 10am – 4pm, at Esperanza College.
For more information about the NAC campaign and location of future screenings and clinics, email firstname.lastname@example.org.