Mujeres Hosts Citizenship Workshop
On January 26, Mujeres Latinas en Acción hosted a workshop to help Legal Permanent Residents in the Chicagoland area apply to become U.S. citizens. This workshop, hosted through the statewide effort New Americans Initiative, brought together prominent Latino organizations Mujeres Latinas ne Accion (Mujeres), Latino Organization of the Southwest (LOS), Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and Instituto del Progreso Latino to provide assistance filling out citizenship applications and free legal screenings for eligible immigrants. Mujeres joined this group in 2005 in response to the needs of the Latino communities throughout Chicago. . Through this workshop, Mujeres sought to provide Chicago’s eligible immigrant population the benefits of citizenship. By becoming U.S. citizens, immigrants can vote and have a strong voice in the issues that directly affect their communities. In 2012, 999 Illinois residents became citizens through the initiative.
Applicants began lining up in front of Mujeres as early as 8:30 a.m. When the doors opened at 9 a.m., applicants were led through a streamlined process moving throughout the Mujeres building. After completing orientation and registration, applicants met with lawyers to review their eligibility for citizenship and receive legal advice. Eligible applicants then met with volunteers to fill out the citizenship application and take advantage of the application fee waiver. The process ended with a final application review. As the day’s event came to a close around 2 p.m., 73 applicants had received free assistance and were on the way to becoming American citizens.
Fifty volunteers, including lawyers, logistics staff, and application assistants, came together to make the event a success. The collaboration between Mujeres, SWOP, LOS, and Instituto was crucial in reaching out to the community and bringing a substantial crowd. Volunteers from Mujeres’ Latina Leadership Program comprise a large part of the outreach by motivating, informing, and educating Legal Permanent Residents about the citizenship process.