ATLANTA – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signed a letter of agreement today to begin a partnership to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts. The agreement will remain in effect until December 2017.
“Our partnership with Atlanta will strengthen local efforts to help aspiring citizens find the information and resources needed to succeed during the naturalization process,” said Rodríguez. “USCIS is proud to join forces with Mayor Reed to expand citizenship education and awareness efforts and to support permanent residents as they consider the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship.”
During today’s signing at City Hall, Rodríguez and Reed highlighted the need to incorporate all sectors of society in a determined effort to support aspiring citizens and create more welcoming communities. They discussed plans to establish “Citizenship Corners” at Atlanta-Fulton Public Library branches to make official USCIS citizenship preparation materials more easily accessible to newcomers. USCIS also plans to train librarians and other city officials about the naturalization process and the free preparation resources available to immigrant library patrons.
“The contributions of immigrants and foreign-born residents to the cultural and economic fabric of Atlanta are irrefutable,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “In the City of Atlanta, immigrants are over-represented among the self-employed, and across our state, new immigrant business owners generate business revenue of $2.9 billion a year. Despite their proven value to our city, thousands of our eligible residents have not yet completed the naturalization process. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce a joint commitment with USCIS to expand access to citizenship in Atlanta, with all its privileges and responsibilities.”
USCIS and the City of Atlanta also plan to:
• Provide citizenship information through public schools, community centers, and other city facilities.
• Expand community partnerships to hold naturalization information sessions throughout Atlanta.
• Raise public awareness about immigration services scams.
• Air citizenship education videos and public service announcements highlighting the letter of agreement on the city’s public access television station, Channel 26, and city websites.
Atlanta is USCIS’ fourth municipal partner, joining Los Angeles, Chicago and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.