First steps toward citizenship

About 200 New Yorkers got one step closer to achieving the American Dream last week after applying for citizenship with help from immigration counselors and lawyers from the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Citizenship and Immigration Project.
State Senator Malcolm A. Smith co-sponsored the Citizenship Now! event, which took place at York College on Friday, April 2. There, immigrants met with experienced immigration lawyers and others who were able to help them complete their applications.
“Many people have difficulty with the citizenship application process, and some go to lawyers who charge exorbitant fees for basically filling out a form,” said Smith. “The CUNY Citizenship Now! program fills a vital need in our community.”
To be eligible, applicants must have lived in the United States as permanent residents for five years or, if married and living with a U.S. citizen, three years.
Applicants must have reached the age of 18, were also required to have been physically present in this country for a certain period of time.
“For persons who meet the eligibility requirements, this is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and get solid advice from people who really understand the complex inner workings of our citizenship application process,” Smith said. “The more information you can get about immigration and citizenship, the better off you will be in the long run.”
CUNY established the Citizenship and Immigration Project in 1997 to address the growing need for immigration services among its foreign-born students, faculty and staff, later expanding the program to assist all New Yorkers with immigration needs. Services are available year round at centers throughout all five boroughs. For more information, visit www.cuny.edu/citizenshipnow.

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