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City of Nashville and TIRRC Awarded Bipartisan Grant to Boost Citizenship of Eligible Immigrants in Davidson County

9/25/2018
Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, 646-584-5281, lisa@tnimmigrant.org

Mayor Briley kicks-off partnership at citizenship workshop

Mayor David Briley joined the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) last Saturday to kick-off a multi-year partnership to boost citizenship of eligible immigrants. This partnership is among 14 awardees in the Cities for Citizenship (C4C) "America is Home" Initiative, a bi-partisan, $5 million challenge grant to promote naturalization in the United States.

TIRRC hosted the first "America is Home" citizenship assistance clinic and assisted 20 aspiring citizens from more than 10 countries to begin the process of naturalization. Mayor Briley attended the workshop where he gave brief remarks and assisted an aspiring citizen in completing her application.

More than 14,000 Davidson County residents are eligible to naturalize today. The partnership between the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and TIRRC will increase efforts to reach eligible immigrants and provide the tools and resources to promote citizenship and assist individuals with their applications.

"The privilege of citizenship brings with it significant benefits, such as rising incomes, expanded job opportunities, higher rates of homeownership, and the opportunity to shape the future of our city by voting and running for office. These opportunities are not only good for individuals and their families, but they also boost our local economy and help our entire city to thrive,” said Mayor Briley.

“It's my job as mayor to ensure that each of our residents has the chance to more fully participate in the social, economic, and civic life of the city. Through our new partnership with TIRRC, we'll work to reduce barriers to citizenship and encourage higher rates of applications among the city's 14,000 residents who are eligible to naturalize today. Together we can empower our friends and neighbors with tools and resources that help them take this important step in realizing the American dream,” he said.

"Many eligible immigrants wait years before becoming citizens because of cost, fear, or lack of information and resources. That's why we're excited to partner with Mayor Briley and his office to break down these barriers to citizenship. The America is Home grant will enable us to reach thousands of Nashville residents and encourage them to take the important step to becoming U.S. citizens. We'll also work together to decrease the cost of applying for citizenship by providing pro-bono attorneys and interpretation services, assisting residents in completing their applications,” said Camila Herrera, Integration Director of TIRRC.

Background

America is Home is a four-year program to help municipalities and community partners encourage U.S. citizenship among eligible immigrants and increase naturalization application rates. “America is Home” is offered in cooperation with the New Americans Campaign (NAC). NPNA and NAC are two leaders in the U.S. promoting naturalization.

Over the next four years, America is Home is re-granting funds to 45 partnerships between municipalities and community organizations across the country to support new and emerging naturalization efforts in order to increase naturalization rates among the immigrant community. The awards are two-year challenge grants of $25,000 or $40,000 issued annually to launch innovative, local citizenship campaigns. The grants are to be distributed in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and will support partnerships between community-based organizations and mayors’ offices to support new and emerging naturalization efforts in cities across the nation.

Local governments across the U.S. have begun to recognize that investing in resources to help immigrants naturalize is money well spent. The recently released C4C report, America is Home: How Individuals, Families, Cities & Counties Benefit by Investing in Citizenship, shows that naturalized immigrants achieve an increase in earnings of 8 to 11 percent. Nearly 9 million people are currently eligible for U.S. citizenship, representing a potential $52 billion windfall for the national economy over the next decade if they are all naturalized.

The “America is Home” Initiative will be administered by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). Cities for Citizenship is co-chaired by Mayors Garcetti, Mayor Emanuel, and Mayor de Blasio of New York City. The Center for Popular Democracy is a member of the C4C Executive Committee, and Citi Community Development is the founding Corporate Partner. The C4C “America is Home” Initiative is offered in cooperation with the New Americans Campaign (NAC). NPNA and NAC are two leaders in the U.S. promoting naturalization and are well positioned to bring naturalization to scale and expand to new cities.

About Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition

TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States. www.tnimmigrant.org

About National Partnership for New Americans

The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a national multiethnic, multiracial partnership. We represent the collective power and resources of the country’s 37 largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 31 states. Our members provide large-scale services—from DACA renewal application processing to voter registration to health care enrollment—for their communities, and they combine service delivery with sophisticated organizing tactics to advance local and state policy. We exist to leverage their collective power and expertise for a national strategy. We believe America’s success is rooted in our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into the fabric of our nation, and to upholding equality and opportunity as fundamental American values.

NPNA is a co-founder of the Cities for Citizenship (C4C) initiative, a major national initiative aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents and encouraging cities across the country to invest in citizenship programs. C4C is a growing network of currently 67 cities and counties that is chaired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.