From the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition:
State Representative Eddie Rodriguez in collaboration with the University Leadership Initiative, will conduct Austin's Citizenship Drive on Saturday, January 27th, 2007 starting at 8:00 am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs located 2315 Red River, (inside the Sid Richardson building) in the city of Austin, TX 78705. The goal of the workshop is to help eligible legal permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship.
Last spring, millions of immigrants and their supporters marched in cities throughout the United States in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The unprecedented levels of participation has motivated thousand of individuals to seek other avenues to continue their civic engagement, including more direct democratic actions such as voting, which requires legal permanent residents to first become naturalized citizens.
"The message is loud and clear: Immigrants are an integral part of the American community" said State Representative Eddie Rodriguez. "There is no better way to demonstrate our community's patriotism and commitment to this country than by becoming full participants in its democracy. U.S. citizenship and voting are clearly the next steps."
Approximately four out of ten Latino adults living in the U.S. are not citizens, of which 5 million are eligible for naturalization. In Texas, there are approximately 800,000 Latinos potentially eligible to become U.S. Citizens. Research demonstrates that Latino naturalized citizens, are voting at higher rates than native born Latinos in many states," notes Rebecca Acuna, Policy Analyst with ULI. "Our community can continue to change the political landscape of our country through increased electoral participation."
Eligible applicants for U.S. citizenship are encouraged to arrive early, as the first 300 legal permanent residents who arrive and meet the requirements to solicit citizenship will be ensured assistance. To apply, applicants must be:
* At least 18 years old
* A legal permanent resident for at least five years (3-Years if married to U.S. Citizen)
* Able to read, write, speak, and understand basic English, and have basic knowledge of U.S. History and government
* Of good moral character.
In addition, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services requires citizenship applicants to submit a $400 money order along with the application. "So if possible," Acuna stressed, "applicants should consider bringing the money order and complete the full application process on the day of the workshop."
For more information, applicants may call 441-8123 ext 101 or 113.
Organizers estimate that 70 bilingual volunteers are needed to conduct the event. Persons interested in volunteering are encouraged to call 441-8123 ext 101 or 113. Training will be provided.