Nonprofit aims to ease path to citizenship

For green card holders in the United States, one of the questions they regularly ask themselves is, “What’s next?” The answer can feel overwhelming. Seeking citizenship is a long process that often appears too big of a hurdle to pass for some Louisiana immigrants, but one group is hoping to change this outlook. A nonprofit is now offering grants for those seeking naturalization.

There are many benefits to becoming a citizen of the United States. From voting rights to a greater sense of inclusion and community, U.S. citizenship offers so much. The National Partnership for New Americans wants to make the incentives for citizenship even better. The nonprofit group plans to provide a $5 million cash pot to help cities that match grants for immigrants.

The grants will go to city-sponsored efforts to help with naturalization and provide between $25,000 and $40,000 in matching funds annually over the course of two years. Some of those funds will go to use directly for immigrants, who need financial help when enrolling in classes necessary for naturalization. Advocates of this approach hope that the financial incentive will encourage cities to up their game when it comes to helping immigrants establish a path to citizenship.

Becoming a naturalized citizen is the dream of many immigrants, but one that some feel is out of reach. Fortunately, many programs that help immigrants and provide financial incentives exist in Louisiana. Finding those programs can be difficult though, and many immigrants choose to work alongside an experienced counsel who can more readily guide them through the process to citizenship.