The D.C. government has announced a grant of $100,000 to support the city’s immigrant employees and residents in gaining U.S. citizenship, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office announced on Monday.
The latest grant, which is the largest such government fund in the nation, brings a new element to the partnership between D.C. authorities and the National Immigration Forum, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrants who want to get U.S. citizenship.
In November 2017, D.C. partnered with Forum’s New American Workforce program to help government employees and residents who want to get naturalized. The program will continue every month until the end of this year.
Bowser said more immigrants in D.C. will get a fair shot at citizenship.
“This grant builds on the work we have done through our Immigrant Justice Legal Services grant program and through the monthly citizenship workshops; it’s an example of how we can work together as a community and use local resources to break down barriers to citizenship,” she said in a statement.
Today, I'm announcing a $100,000 grant to support District residents in gaining U.S. citizenship. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/duQ3WbSZlp
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) February 4, 2019
The naturalization process can be expensive for employees and residents as it involves hiring attorneys, a filing fee, and taking English language classes. Under the new grant, up to $725 will be provided per eligible person for covering their application and biometric fees.
Ali Noorani, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, said this grant will help new Americans to reach their full potential as U.S. citizens. Noorani called the partnership with the D.C. mayor on this initiative “a win-win for Washington, D.C., businesses and employees alike.”
Only the participants of the New American Workforce workshops can avail the funding, which will be available on first come, first serve basis. The citizenship process and its benefits are explained at these monthly workshops which are conducted by experienced immigration professionals.
The next workshop, hosted by Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, is scheduled on February 22 at the Reeves Center (2000 14th Street, NW).
Although the mayor has allocated some funds in the past three years to legal groups that provide assistance to immigrants facing deportation, activists have in the past criticized Bowser’s response to the immigration policies of the Trump administration.