The USCIS has added a new feature to its website, entitled the Citizenship Resource Center.
I am impressed by this new service and I'll tell you why. Back in the 1970s when I served as an INS Citizenship Attorney, I was appalled that the government had no program to help immigrants interested in becoming U.S. citizens. In fact, applicants had to line up at the Federal Building early in the morning, and wait in line for hours simply to obtain an application form.
I developed a program where government attorneys visited evening Citizenship classes in Southern California. They spoke and answered questions about the Citizenship process, handed out Applications for Naturalization and helped students prepare for their naturalization interviews.
However, after I left the Citizenship Branch in 1980, the whole program fell apart. At that time, there wasn't even a government-issued brochure about the Citizenship process.
For the past few years, the INS and USCIS websites have allowed Citizenship applicants to download the N-400 form for free, take practice history and government tests online and become familiar with the naturalization process.
This summer, the USCIS website took this a further step, and added the Citizenship Resource Center (CRC) to their website.
For students, the CRC allows them to
- Learn about Naturalization
- Apply for Citizenship
- Study for the Test
- Find a Citizenship Case
- Attend an Information Session
- Understand their Rights and Responsibilities
For teachers, the CRC provides
- Classroom Tools
- Online Training Resources
- Naturalization Information
- Training Workshops
For organizations, the CRC lists
- Grant Programs
- Grant Resources
- Grant Recipients
- Promising Practices
- Training and Professional Development
- Supplemental Resource Links
The CRC provides information about the history and government test in several languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and Vietnamese. The site includes videos and audios in multiple languages explaining the naturalization process.
The USCIS regularly holds free information sessions for permanent residents in different parts of the country. These sessions cover naturalization eligibility, testing, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. A schedule of these sessions is listed on the website. For October and November, the 14 sessions listed on the schedule were all east of the Mississippi River.
The website links to the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS). I inserted my zip code and tried to find a Citizenship class within 5 miles of my house. Although I founds a number of centers that would help with math, ESL, GEDs, etc., I did not find a Citizenship class.
The site also contains a 16-minute video entitled "The USCIS Naturalization Interview and Test" and an 11-minute video entitled "Becoming a U.S. Citizen: An Overview of the Naturalization Process".
All in all, the Citizenship Resource Center is a great place for persons to learn about the process of becoming a citizen of the U.S.
We link to the Citizenship Resource Center from the "Obtaining U.S. Citizenship" page on our website.
Kudos to the USCIS.