Mayor Walsh announces expanded partnership with USCIS to support citizenship education and awareness
June 16, 2015
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez to sign a letter of agreement to expand a partnership to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts. The agreement will remain in effect for three years.
"There could be no better time for this kind of effort," said Mayor Walsh. "Like so many places in our country, Boston is becoming more diverse, and this agreement will further the work being done by USCIS and our Office of New Bostonians, which is vitally important to our future."
“USCIS is proud to partner with Mayor Walsh to provide immigrants with greater access to information and resources as they pursue the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship here in 'The Cradle of Liberty',” said Director Rodríguez. “We look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians and other city services in providing tools to help immigrants contribute to a thriving, welcoming and innovative Boston.”
Research shows that immigrants who have naturalized have more employment opportunities and higher incomes, and experience lower levels of poverty than non-citizens. Citizenship also deepens the sense of belonging in our communities, and helps immigrants become full and active members of society. In addition, citizenship allows for privileges, like voting in elections and traveling with a U.S. passport.
Yet many immigrants in Boston have not become citizens, in many cases due to a lack of information about the naturalization process. The City's partnership with USCIS will help close that informational gap.
Under the agreement, signed at City Hall today, the City of Boston and USCIS also plan to:
- Provide citizenship information through schools, community centers and other city facilities.
- Expand community partnerships to hold naturalization information sessions throughout Boston.
- Broadcast citizenship education videos and public service announcements highlighting the letter of agreement on the city’s public access station, Boston City TV and city websites.
- Raise awareness of how to avoid immigration scams.
Boston is USCIS’ sixth municipal partner, joining Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and New York City.
Mayor Walsh had been a dedicated leader on immigration issues. Last month, Mayor Walsh joined Boston-area immigrants and local business leaders and advocates to discuss the economic and moral benefits of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, and called on Congress to pass legislative reform without delay. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) will help an estimated five million immigrants and children of immigrants stay in the United States, continue contributing to our economy and create American jobs.
In 2014, Mayor Walsh signed the Trust Act, which made clear that arrestees may not be held for federal immigration officials unless a criminal warrant has been issued by a judicial officer. The Mayor also hosted a naturalization oath ceremony at City Hall and application assistance clinics at five Boston Centers for Youth and Families Community Centers in 2014. On September 26, the City of Boston will celebrate Citizenship Day with an application assistance clinic at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury.