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Montgomery County joins more than 60 cities and counties nationwide hosting naturalization workshops and events for Citizenship Day

For Immediate Release: Monday, September 17, 2018

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett today joined mayors and county executives from across the nation in the bipartisan “Cities for Citizenship” effort to encourage eligible immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship. The program comes at a time when a backlog in processing applications may be discouraging permanent residents from applying for citizenship.

County Executive Leggett launched Montgomery’s “Countywide Citizenship Corners” in ceremonies at the Rockville Memorial Library. Over the previous week, there were two workshops held in the County to help eligible immigrants with their applications.

“When legal permanent residents become U.S. citizens, our County thrives,” said County Executive Leggett. “We urge our residents to start the naturalization process and to only seek advice and citizenship application assistance from reputable service providers.”

Cities for Citizenship (C4C)   is a national initiative of 67 participating cities and counties aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible permanent residents and encouraging investment in citizenship and financial empowerment programs. Montgomery County joined the initiative in 2017.

Citizenship Corners provide information in a variety of languages that can help guide permanent residences toward applying for citizenship. In addition to the corner launched today in the Rockville Memorial Library, Citizenship Corners are being established at the Long Branch and Silver Spring libraries, the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center in Wheaton, the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center at the Gaithersburg Library, at Gaithersburg City Hall and at the Gaithersburg Parents Resource Center.

Additional sites will be added in the near future. Updates on the locations will be available on the website of the Gilchrist Center or by calling 240-777-4940. In Montgomery County, it is estimated that there are thousands of residents who are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

“Numerous studies have shown that the incomes of immigrants rise significantly after naturalizing,” said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans.  “The earnings gap between naturalized immigrants and noncitizen immigrants exists even with differences in education, regional labor markets and language ability taken into account.”

According to a new report by Cities for Citizenship titled “America is Home: How Individuals, Families, Cities & Counties Benefit by Investing in Citizenship,” if every working person in the nation who is eligible to naturalize became a U.S. citizen, the result would be $9 billion total in additional income from their current jobs. The report also found that among those who naturalized one to two years ago, incomes rose by 5 to 7 percent, representing approximately $2,200 in average additional earnings per person annually.

In 2017, C4C network made an impact through naturalization outreach, application assistance and financial empowerment services that were integrated with naturalization efforts. The 2017 C4C Annual Partner Survey showed:

-  More than 712,720 lawful permanent residents were reached through naturalization outreach and communication campaigns.

-  More than 11,450 lawful permanent residents were assisted with their citizenship application via naturalization workshops.

-  More than 14,000 lawful permanent residents were assisted with financial empowerment services.

Since C4C’s inception in 2014, C4C cities and counties have been at the forefront of the effort to create scalable naturalization programs and policies.

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Release ID: 18-672
Media Contact: Diane Vy Nguyen-Vu, 240-777-8320 , Neil Greenberger 240-777-6532