Twenty-one cities, many of which have been branded as so-called “sanctuary cities,” promised on Independence Day to naturalize over a million immigrants before 2018 through the Naturalize NOW campaign. Among the many cities supporting the immigration initiative include New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Jersey City, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Tucson.
Naturalize NOW was initiated by immigration rights advocates, progressive groups, and elected officials with the goal of protecting the millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants from the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration crackdown. It seeks to embrace “the diversity and innovation immigrants bring to the United States by assisting eligible legal residents through the naturalization process.”
Its central mission, according to its Flag Day press release, is to encourage community members to participate in the country’s democracy and to protect themselves as well as their families. The pledge comes on the heels of two Republican-sponsored immigration bills, “Kate’s Law” and the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” which would increase sanctions against deportees who re-enter American soil and pressure local governments into complying with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Community-based organizations and labor unions such as Mi Familia Vota, Cities for Citizenship, National Council of La Raza, iAmerica, Center for Popular Democracy, SEIU, Unite Here, UFCW, and the UFW Foundation have thrown their support behind the campaign.
Elected officials at the municipal level and members of Congress have also joined in. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is featured on a video on the initiative’s official website saying, “We celebrate our independence on July 4, and honor the values of freedom, justice, unity, and equality that make us who we are.”
He also explains LA’s participation in the campaign by stating the principles mentioned are “still worth fighting for.”
The campaign highlights the fact that now, more than ever, immigrants are seeking legal American citizenship, perhaps in fear of Trump’s highly anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric and the moves his administration has made thus far in cracking down on law-abiding immigrants.
According to Mi Familia, efforts like Naturalize NOW have helped in encouraging people to seek legal paths toward citizenship.
“A record-breaking number of aspiring Americans have submitted citizenship applications in 2017, making the second quarter of this year busier than 2016, a federal election year,” the organization notes.
“The Naturalize NOW! campaign is halfway through accomplishing the target goal, with over half a million people submitting applications through the first half of this year.”
If you, or anyone you know, want to file for citizenship but don’t know where to start, talk to the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm. Contact our offices to speak with Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle about your options towards naturalization.