April 21, 2012 - Workshop Today Helps Path To Citizenship
Paper: U-T San Diego (CA)
Title: Workshop Today Helps Path To Citizenship
Date: April 21, 2012
By: Elizabeth Aguilera
Tens of thousands of legal immigrants in San Diego County are eligible to apply for citizenship and if they do so soon, they could take the Oath of Allegiance in time to vote in November's presidential election.
Numerous immigrant advocates and providers of legal services aim to help these citizenship-ready individuals by providing free application assistance today.
The San Diego Naturalization Collaborative will host the workshop, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center at Southwestern Community College, 900 Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista.
The event is part of the "You Are America" campaign to stress the importance of citizenship and voting.
"There are an estimated 150,000 residents in the county who are eligible for citizenship, yet less than 10 percent of them apply every year," says Bob Moser of Catholic Charities.
Citizenship experts estimate there are about 8.1 million legal immigrants in the United States who qualify for naturalization. Those who apply by July have a shot at becoming U.S. citizens in time to vote in November. It takes at least two months for an application to be processed.
Immigrants who have lived in the U.S. legally for five years, are at least 18 and meet other requirements — such as speaking English and "having good moral character" — can apply.
At the Saturday session, and at two more events planned for May and June, legal experts will provide free advice on how to fill out the citizenship application.
Participants would then only need to pay the $680 application fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
"Some of the reasons people do not apply are because they do not know how and do not have the resources to pay for legal assistance," said Miko Tokuhama-Olsen of Legal Aid Society of San Diego.
Edition: First Edition
Dateline: CHULA VISTA
Record Number: UTS2281446
Copyright 2012, U-T San Diego