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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Public Library (CPL), and the Chicago Public Library Foundation announce a new Chicago Cities for Citizenship RFP for immigrant-serving non-profits. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, the Chicago Cities for Citizenship (Chicago C4C) program will provide up to $220,000 in funding and seeks applications from qualified organizations working with and on behalf of immigrant communities to coordinate naturalization workshops, free immigration legal assistance and financial coaching in Citizenship Corners at Chicago Public Library branches that serve communities with high concentration of immigrants.
“Chicago is a city that was built by immigrants, and we are proud to assist Chicagoans in navigating the naturalization process,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Immigrants make significant contributions to our communities every day, and investing in immigrant integration provides new economic growth, not just for immigrants and their families, but also for the city as a whole.”
A total of $220,000 in new funding is available to proposals that are selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process available here. This RFP process is open to all non-profits that currently provide naturalization workshops and financial literacy to immigrant communities. The selected non-profits will work closely with the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of New Americans (ONA) and CPL staff to host monthly naturalization workshops at CPL Citizenship Corners and directly assist immigrants in Chicago to become naturalized citizens through outreach, education, as well as legal screening and application processing.
“As a neighborhood hub, our libraries are the perfect place to offer important information and Citizenship Corners have served as a trusted resource,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “We are proud to be part of the Chicago Cities for Citizenship and are hopeful that this program will lead to better access to information, empowered citizens, and strong communities.”
“It is exciting to build a partnership with the City of Chicago, Citi Development Corporation, and the many superb immigrant organizations providing U.S. citizenship services across the mosaic of ethnic communities that make up Chicago," says Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director of the National Partnership for New Americans.
“The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is proud to be a partner in the ‘Cities for Citizenship’ initiative -modeled after the New Americans Initiative - with and in a city that understands the importance of immigrants in our past, present and future. That said, only when Governor Rauner restores the immigrant services line item can we be assured that Chicago and its people will benefit fully from the opportunity to become citizens and gain legal status. Chicago is ready. Governor Rauner needs to affirm that Illinois is ready too.” Stated Lawrence Benito, CEO ICIRR
The Chicago C4C program was created after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the National Partnership for New Americans jointly launched Cities for Citizenship – a national initiative aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents. In total, Citi Community Development, the founding corporate partner, contributed more than $1 million to the program.
Through the Chicago New Americans Initiative, a partnership between the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the City has pledged to assist about one-third of its legal permanent residents to become naturalized, U.S. citizens.
Since the creation of the ONA, the City has strengthened its support for immigrant communities. The ONA has recently coordinated efforts with local partners across various sectors to ensure that as many Chicago residents as possible take advantage of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, opened up nearly 23,000 internship and job opportunities for DREAMers, and held numerous business expos through the New Americans Small Business Series to foster small business growth in immigrant communities.