The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has awarded nearly $10 million in grants under two funding opportunities to 46 organizations that will help permanent residents prepare and apply for U.S. citizenship. Located in 21 states, these organizations will receive federal funding to support citizenship preparation services for permanent residents through September 2018.
Since it began in 2009, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded a total of $63 million through 308 competitive grants to public or private nonprofit organizations in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Now in its eighth year, the program has helped more than 156,000 permanent residents prepare for citizenship. USCIS anticipates that an additional 37,000 permanent residents will receive citizenship preparation services by Sept. 30, 2018, as a result of the grant program.
“There is a great need for citizenship preparation services throughout the country,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said. “Grant recipient organizations provide critical services to immigrants as they pursue their dream of U.S. citizenship.”
The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program is a major part of USCIS’ efforts to support effective citizenship preparation services and provide information to immigrants and public or private nonprofit organizations. Other efforts include the Citizenship Resource Center, a web resource that provides learning materials to help permanent residents prepare for the naturalization process, and USCIS’ partnerships with federal and municipal agencies that raise awareness of the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship among the estimated 8.8 million permanent residents nationwide eligible to apply for naturalization.
This year, these funding opportunities included a newly created grant opportunity to assist nonprofit organizations in establishing new citizenship instruction programs or expanding the quality and reach of their existing citizenship instruction programs. Through this new program USCIS sought to encourage the expansion of the existing field of citizenship instruction programs, particularly those offered by small, community-based organizations that have not previously received a grant from USCIS.