For over 60 years, citizenship and naturalization issues have been a focus of HIAS’ work in the community with clients, affiliated agencies, local organizations, and the U.S. government. HIAS’ work has included:
- Advocacy and policy development;
- Community outreach;
- Development of citizenship preparation materials;
- Resources and trainings for citizenship professionals;
- Naturalization application services and representation before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In September 2010, HIAS was awarded a two-year Citizenship and Integration National Capacity Building Grant from the USCIS’ Office of Citizenship, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The grant provided funding for HIAS to build the capacity of three affiliates to offer comprehensive citizenship preparation programs that included outreach, citizenship instruction (including civics-based English as a Second Language for pre-literate and low literate/low education LPRs), and naturalization application services within the scope of authorized practice of law. The program was designed to serve lawful permanent residents with a focus on vulnerable and underserved immigrant populations.
In 2011, HIAS received a second Citizenship and Integration National Capacity Building Grant from the USCIS, enabling HIAS to develop and/or strengthen the citizenship preparation programs at three additional affiliate agencies.
This citizenship preparation program enabled participating agencies to provide a continuum of services to refugees, asylees, and immigrants from arrival to U.S. citizenship, which ultimately will improve their integration into their local communities.