Immigrant Civic Participation Increases in Record Numbers
CHICAGO, IL – Community leaders from organizations across Chicago, new citizens, and advocates with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) along with Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Agueda Corona, Director of Hispanic/Latino Affairs for the Illinois Department of Human Services , joined to celebrate the increasing numbers of immigrants’ civic participation.
“Citizenship is the key that can help thousands of immigrants in Illinois to participate fully in the civil life of this country,” said Flavia Jimenez, the New Americans Initiative (NAI) director. “Despite the mounting financial hurdles in applying for U.S. citizenships, hundreds of thousands of eligible immigrants are still more than eager to fully participate in the civic life of this country.”
Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, is the daughter of immigrants. Her father joined the United States Army as a foreign citizen who ended up going to war. “Like so many other immigrants, my father dreamed of being an American citizen, finding employment and raising his children with greater comfort than he ever had the opportunity to enjoy himself,” Alvarez said. “It is important that we as a society continue to support those who are attempting to do the same.”
ICIRR through its New Americans Initiative (NAI) program has successfully assisted a record number of over 252,000 individuals with citizenship services through its toll-free number, website and community outreach, and has directly assisted over 34,000 eligible immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship including legal assistance and follow-up. This national campaign is a combination of training, organizing and electoral civic engagement targeting the immigrant community.