Woman receives help on citizenship forms.

Photo courtesy of Causa Oregon

Salem, OR — Causa Oregon is helping legal permanent residents become naturalized citizens as part of a National Citizenship Campaign, aided by the experience and support of local partners and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA).

Similar efforts are taking place in California, Washington, Colorado, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The NPNA represents the eleven largest immigrant rights coalitions and organizations working on immigrant integration in the U.S.

Through its Citizenship Program, Causa is helping legal permanent residents in Oregon because as naturalized citizens, individuals will be able to vote in elections, serve on juries, be elected to public office, have the ability to be involved in government decisions, and have ability to sponsor family members to immigrate to the United States, just to name a few.

With the new citizenship program, Causa aims to assist 125 eligible legal permanent residents with review of their N-400 application and provide general citizenship outreach to 4,000 eligible residents across the State of Oregon.

To maximize their outreach efforts, Causa is partnering with community organizations and local ethnic media. Local legal service providers will also provide technical assistance and legal overview for group processing events.

On March 24, Causa Oregon and PCUN participated in the National Citizenship Campaign Kick-off with the NPNA and other organizations around the United States. They trained 25 new “citizenship” coaches to help during the citizenship assistance events happening in April and June.

“We are very excited to have been a part of the national launch on Saturday”, said Luis Guerra, Causa’s Citizenship Assistance Program coordinator. “It was inspiring to have the 25 leaders attend the volunteer training so that they can assist people who want to become U.S. Citizens.”

The training took place at Rural Organizing Project’s (ROP) Latino Retreat in Dayton. The retreat brought leaders together from Latino-based organizations from around Oregon — many from rural communities that Causa alone would have had difficulty reaching.

Causa held its first assistance event of the campaign March 17 in Cornelius. Thirty-one people received assistance from 27 volunteers from Causa, SOAR Legal Services, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The volunteer group consisted of immigration attorneys, law students, leadership class participants, and general volunteers.

Two more assistance events are planned in the coming months: April 28, 10 a.m., at St. Matthews Episcopal Church (11229 NE Prescott St., Portland); and June 2, 10 a.m., at First Congregational United Church of Christ (700 Marion St. NE, Salem).

Individuals who would like to volunteer to help at any of these events or anyone with questions about Causa’s Citizenship Program should contact Luis Guerra at luis@causaoregon.org or via Causa’s hotline, 855-884-2287.