LOS ANGELES, CA—Building on the success of a campaign that helped set a record for naturalizations in 2008, the leaders of the historic ya es hora ¡Ciudadania! (It’s time, Citizenship!) Campaign this week announced plans to re-launch their efforts for 2009 with naturalization workshops in cities across the country on Saturday, April 18, 2009. The workshops are being conducted in cooperation with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Born out of the pro-immigration marches of 2006, ya es hora ¡Ciudadania! Campaign has helped translate that momentum into a movement for citizenship. The more than 400 organizations nationwide that contributed to the campaign motivated 1.4 million legal permanent residents to apply for U.S. citizenship, helping make 2008 a record year for naturalizations. Around 460,650 (44%) of those newly naturalized people were Latinos, a 95% increase over 2007 and a 272% increase over 5 years (2003-2008).
In a telephone press conference on April 14, campaign partners described their latest efforts to motivate the 8.25 million legal permanent residents still eligible to naturalize, a number that includes including 3.8 million Latinos.
Clarissa Martínez De Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, said “We are here today to reiterate our commitment to this essential effort, and to say that together, over the next two years we will be helping another one million eligible immigrants get on the road to citizenship.”
The ya es hora ¡Ciudadania! (It’s time, Citizenship!) Campaign includes Entravision Communications, impreMedia, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, NALEO Educational Fund, National Council of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, Univision Communications Inc. and hundreds of community organizations, businesses and public and private agencies. The campaign includes an integrated and multi-media campaign strategy designed to inform and motivate eligible legal permanent residents to apply for U.S. citizenship. This media effort will be complemented by the work of community organizations around the country that will provide direct services to those seeking to apply for U.S. citizenship.
“The partners of the ya es hora Campaign helped set a record for the total number of immigrants realizing their dream of U.S. citizenship in 2008,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund. “With an understanding that there are still millions out there who need help with the citizenship process, we will continue this important civic engagement campaign in 2009 and beyond in order to help those who want to make their voices heard in our nation’s democracy a reality.”
The campaign partners will promote citizenship and provide services throughout 2009. The effort will include coordinated national efforts on the following dates: AILA National Citizenship Day on April 18, National Citizenship Month in September and National Citizenship Day on September 17.
“The community understands that as citizens, people can help to shape the future of this country,” said Ben Monterroso, Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund. “The work of local community organizations in this campaign is important because they provide free assistance and information about the process of applying for naturalization and make the process accessible for people.”
For more information on ya es hora ¡Ciudadania! workshops taking place on April 18, please visit: