On July 4th, Cities for Citizenship (C4C) released a new report showing surging interest in citizenship across the country and demonstrating how naturalization can benefit cities. On the same day, Naturalize NOW!, a campaign that C4C is co-sponsoring, announced more than 20 Mayoral sponsors and more than 150 citizenship events throughout the summer.
The report, from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Citi Community Development, and Cities for Citizenship (C4C) looks at the impact of the Cities for Citizenship program, which helps cities invest in programs designed to encourage citizenship and let green card holders overcome hurdles to naturalization. The C4C program contributed to the national uptick in naturalization applications in 2016, which saw a record 970,000 applications for citizenship – a 24 percent increase over 2015.
The number of cities joining the program has also skyrocketed, with 19 new city and county partners since the start of 2016, nearly doubling the total number of cities involved. C4C’s network of municipal partners grew by 46 percent in just the first six months of 2017. New cities joining since the start of 2016 include: Anchorage, AK; Cleveland, OH; Dayton, OH; Detroit, OH; Houston, TX; Knoxville, TN; Long Beach, CA; Louisville, KY; Kansas City, KS; Madison, WI; Miami City, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Paterson, NJ; Portland, OR; Salt Lake County, UT; Suffolk County, NY; and Tucson, AZ.
The Cities for Citizenship program now spans 39 cities across the country. The new additions include Mayors from small towns and states deep in the heartland, underlining that citizenship is an issue that bridges the partisan gap.
The release of the report garnered significant press interest and was covered in:
- Atlantic’s CityLab, The Heartland Wants More New Americans
- El Diario (NYC’s largest Spanish language publication) ran an Op-Ed from Mayor de Blasio: Luchando por los inmigrantes el 4 de Julio, and,
- Next City ran an Op-Ed from the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans, Why U.S. Cities Are Fighting to Attract Immigrants
Citizenship offers a wealth of advantages for local economies. Supporting immigrants in the process of naturalization contributes to the financial security of immigrant families, helping localities as a result. After naturalizing, individual earnings increase by an average of eight percent (or $3,200) and rates of employment and homeownership go up. Those individual earnings translate into sizable federal, state, and city tax revenue that cities can then put to good use for public programs and services. Research has found that naturalizing all eligible individuals in twenty-one major metropolitan areas would bring a projected $2 billion in annual revenue.
The Naturalize NOW! Campaign also had a big day of action on July 4th. The campaign aims to boost naturalization rates and secure another million citizenship applications in 2017. Mayors from Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Dayton, OH; Jersey City, NJ; Knoxville, TN; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Miami Dade County, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Paterson, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; New York City, NY; Salt Lake County, UT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, CA; South Gate, CA & Tucson, AZ have joined the Naturalize NOW! effort, and the campaign has organized 164 events throughout the summer. You can see all partners and events at www.naturalizenow.us.
The incredible energy to increase citizenship rates in cities across the country will continue to grow throughout the summer. On Citizenship Day, September 17th, the network of C4C cities plan to amplify the benefits of citizenship and work towards naturalizing more residents. Several cities including San Jose, Seattle, Tucson, Salt Lake County and Pittsburgh have already planned naturalization events near that date and the network has committed to join in collective actions on that day. Please join us! If you are interested in getting involved on Citizenship Day, please email us at email@example.com.