Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
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Grant awarded to help immigrants on path toward citizenship

A group called Asian Americans Advancing Justice has received a two-year, $250,000 grant from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  A part of the purpose is to reach 600 Chinese and Korean immigrants in hopes of helping them obtain naturalization.

As language is a barrier for immigrants seeking citizenship, a program has been launched to teach them English and provide civics lessons.  The individual that oversees AAAJ states that naturalization preparation courses are taught to those fluent in Spanish.  However, fewer of such classes are available for individuals that speak Asian languages.  It's often older Asian immigrants that require the most assistance concerning language.

While some may put off attempts to obtain citizenship due to a possible return to their home country, the AAAJ spokesperson mentioned above stresses the need for citizenship. "There's a lot more security that comes with being a naturalized citizen as opposed to being a green card holder," this individual stated.

Individuals are never too old to obtain citizenship. One woman who came to the United States in her 20s did not become a citizen until she was about 70-years-old. Others hope to apply for citizenship as soon as the five-year waiting period of being a permanent resident has been reached.

As the process can be long and confusing, individuals seeking citizenship find it useful to speak to citizenship lawyers. Care needs to be taken as certain criteria needs to be met. If requirements are not met, citizenship may be delayed or even denied. Lawyers can provide a wide variety of options to make certain that refusals are avoided when it comes to citizenship applications.

Source: KPCC, "Bilingual classes gives older immigrants better shot at citizenship," Josie Huang, Jan. 24, 2014

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