Washington, March 11, 2022 | James Kwon (202-770-6959)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) released the following statement today on the inclusion of $20 million in federal funding for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus legislation , a 100% increase. Rep. Gomez has long advocated for the increase of funding for citizenship education and immigrant integration grants and has hosted citizenship workshops across the 34th Congressional District. Since 2017, the Office of Congressman Gomez has helped over 1,000 constituents with immigration cases, including applications for lawful permanent resident status (also known as a Green Card), employment authorization, and visas.

“Today, I am pleased to announce $20 million in federal funding for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program,” said Congressman Jimmy Gomez. “The day my oldest sister became a U.S. citizen, I felt proud and grateful. As a nation, we should work to remove unnecessary barriers to citizenship and support immigrants interested in becoming U.S. citizens. This funding represents a significant step forward in helping immigrants navigate the citizenship process.”

"As a direct legal immigration service provider in California and a recipient of the 2021 USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant program, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) is very pleased with how Congress is supportive of immigrant integration by moving forward a 100% increase in the funding for this vital program," said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA Executive Director. "With this grant increase, USCIS will be better supported to address the unmet demand, expand citizenship instruction and naturalization application services and ultimately help legal permanent residents to realize their dream of U.S. Citizenship. CHIRLA thanks Congressman Gomez and his staff for their dedicated persistence and focused hard work to obtain funding for citizenship grants." 

“NALEO Educational Fund commends the inclusion of $20 million in the FY 2022 Omnibus appropriations legislation for the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grants program, the highest amount ever appropriated for the program,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund Chief Executive Officer. “This is a sound investment that will allow community organizations to provide much-needed assistance for naturalization applicants to help them realize their dream of U.S. citizenship. Naturalization is a fundamental part of our identity as a nation, and naturalized Americans make our economy stronger and our democracy more robust. We urge Congress to enact appropriations legislation which retains this funding level for this crucial program.” 

“We thank Rep. Jimmy Gomez for his leadership that has resulted in an increase to the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program,” said Laura Vazquez, Associate Director of Immigrant Integration at UnidosUS“This investment will not only help eligible permanent residents find high-quality, low-cost assistance in applying for U.S. citizenship, but it will also benefit USCIS. Having qualified legal service providers assist eligible applicants results in fewer mistakes and requests for evidence, allowing USCIS to more efficiently review citizenship applications. 

"The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is encouraged by the doubling of funding for the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program in the fiscal year 2022 budget, despite the budget's failure to include many priorities of immigrant communities," said Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of NPNA. "The over nine million immigrants who are eligible for citizenship face barriers like language, price, and a lack of access to legal services, like those offered by the grant program. While the program has been incredibly effective and life-changing for hundreds of thousands of people, its limited funding has constrained its reach. We commend the House of Representatives for increasing the funding, call for the Senate and President to act, and look forward to working with Congress and the administration to further invest in the program and expand access to citizenship in fiscal year 2023 and beyond." 

Since it began in 2009, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Citizenship and Integration Grant Program (CIGP) has awarded a total of $112 million through 513 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Now in its thirteenth year, the program has helped more than 290,500 lawful permanent residents prepare for citizenship out of the total 9.2 million that are eligible.

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