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Denver among 14 cities to receive NPNA awards worth $5 million to promote naturalization

(September 18 , 2018) – Today, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) announced that Denver is among 14 awardees in the Cities for Citizenship (C4C) “America is Home” Initiative, a bipartisan, $5 million challenge grant to promote naturalization in the United States.

“Too many eligible immigrants go years without applying for citizenship even though they are eligible,” said Eva Millona, NPNA co-chair, Executive Director of the MIRA Coalition and a naturalized citizen. “We try to help break down the barriers that hold them back and give anyone who wants to, the possibility to become a citizen.”

The Denver Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and Mi Familia Vota will collaborate on the local $80k award to promote naturalization, update the city’s resources around naturalization and host citizenship workshops over the next two years.

“We know the value that immigrants and refugees contribute to our economy and our social and cultural fabric,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “This grant will help us provide the 30,000 or so Lawful Permanent Residents who are eligible for citizenship in Denver with the knowledge, tools and support they need to apply, to take that step toward becoming more active and engaged members of our city, to achieve the American Dream.”

America is Home is a four-year program to help municipalities and community partners encourage U.S. citizenship among eligible immigrants and increase naturalization application rates. The program will re-grant funds to 45 partnerships between municipalities and community organizations across the country to support new and emerging naturalization efforts in order to increase naturalization rates among the immigrant community. The awards are two-year challenge grants of $25,000 or $40,000 issued annually to launch innovative, local citizenship campaigns. The grants are to be distributed in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and will support partnerships between community-based organizations and mayors’ offices to support new and emerging naturalization efforts in cities across the nation.

“Our greatest aspiration is to help individuals achieve their dreams and fully participate in the social, economic and civic fabric of our country,” said Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. “We are committed to this vital work. When Immigrant and refugee families thrive, we all thrive.”

Local governments across the U.S. have begun to recognize that investing in resources to help immigrants naturalize is money well spent.

“Our democracy works best when we all participate,” said Carla Castedo, Colorado State Director of Mi Familia Vota-EF. “We support the vibrant representation and participation of our communities of color.”

A summer 2014 C4C report shows that naturalized immigrants achieve an increase in earnings of 8 to 11 percent. Nearly 9 million people are currently eligible for U.S. citizenship, representing a potential $52 billion windfall for the national economy over the next decade if they are all naturalized.

The “America is Home” Initiative will be administered by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). Cities for Citizenship is co-chaired by Mayors Garcetti, Mayor Emanuel, and Mayor de Blasio of New York City. The Center for Popular Democracy is a member of the C4C Executive Committee, and Citi Community Development is the founding Corporate Partner. The C4C “America is Home” Initiative is offered in cooperation with the New Americans Campaign (NAC). NPNA and NAC are two leaders in the U.S. promoting naturalization and are well positioned to bring naturalization to scale and expand to new cities.

Awardee Cities: Salt Lake County, UT, Albuquerque, NM, Nashville, TN, Denver, CO, Birmingham, AL, York, PA, Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, IN, New Orleans, LA, Milwaukee, WI, Tulsa, OK, Boise, ID, Sante Fe, NM,.