WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today a new partnership to strengthen immigrant integration efforts in Los Angeles through proactive citizenship awareness, education, and outreach activities. The initiative kicks off with a free citizenship information session and naturalization workshop on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center in Northeast Los Angeles. USCIS Los Angeles District Director Jane Arellano will be on hand to answer questions.
“Citizenship creates opportunities, strengthens communities, and allows immigrants to become fully vested members of this great nation,” said Mayorkas. “In serving the public, it is our duty to provide aspiring citizens with the tools they need to pursue the path to citizenship. We are proud to partner with Mayor Villaraigosa and the City of Los Angeles on this important initiative.”
Saturday’s event is the first in a series of planned citizenship information sessions for Los Angeles residents. Other activities under the agreement include the dissemination of USCIS educational materials highlighting U.S. citizenship and the naturalization process at city facilities along with targeted outreach to increase awareness of citizenship rights, responsibilities, and the naturalization process among eligible residents. As the second largest, and one of the most diverse cities in the country, Los Angeles is home to immigrants coming from more than 140 countries and speaking 224 languages. California is home to nearly 3.5 million legal permanent residents, 2.5 million of whom are eligible to naturalize.
“By partnering with USCIS to educate and encourage Angelenos to become American citizens, the City of Los Angeles is helping to open the doors of greater economic opportunity for thousands of hard-working immigrants and their families,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “This outreach campaign is a model of cooperation and civic empowerment that will help enrich America's continued success as a nation of immigrants.”
Los Angeles is the first city to enter into an agreement with USCIS to strengthen and enhance local immigant integration efforts. USCIS will regularly evaluate the program’s effectiveness to determine whether a similar agreement may be replicated in other locations. Launched as a pilot, the partnership between USCIS and Los Angeles will remain in effect for two years.
To learn more about USCIS and its programs, visit our homepage or call the National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283.
For more information on the City of Los Angeles, visit www.lacity.org.