NALEO Educational Fund stands at the forefront of efforts to ensure that naturalization is accessible to and affordable for our nation’s newcomers. Our policy priorities include reducing the barriers to U.S. citizenship, including the high cost of the U.S. citizenship application process. In addition, we advocate for more equitable English and civics naturalization requirements for older legal permanent residents, and the fair administration of the naturalization exam.
NALEO Educational Fund also works to promote improvements in the customer service provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including the greater availability of voter registration opportunities for the newly-naturalized. We also believe that the United States must significantly strengthen its policies to support the integration of newcomers, and ensure that they acquire the skills they need to participate fully in our nation’s civic and economic life.
Naturalization is a critical step for our nation’s newcomers on their path toward becoming full participants in America’s civic life. According to estimates prepared by the Department of Homeland Security, there are about 8.8 million legal permanent residents eligible for U.S. citizenship nationwide who have not yet initiated the naturalization process. Of those, at least 3.9 million – or nearly half (45%) – are Latino.
NALEO Educational Fund’s naturalization advocacy draws upon our extensive experience in promoting U.S. citizenship and assisting newcomers with the application process, which includes our leadership of the nationally-recognized “ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía!” (It’s time, citizenship!) campaign. We also serve as co-chairs of the Naturalization Working Group, a coalition of immigrant service providers, policy and advocacy organizations dedicated to helping immigrants become American citizens.