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Coalition and Partners Host “Citizenship Day” to Support Immigrants and Refugees Eligible for U.S Citizenship

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212 627 2227 X235,  Cell Phone: 413-687-5160,  E-mail: tyaku@nyic.org
New York  (Saturday, September 17, 2016)

Coalition and Partners Host “Citizenship Day” to Support Immigrants and Refugees Eligible for U.S Citizenship

Today, New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), CUNY Citizenship Now!, and the New York State Office for New Americans hosted “Citizenship Day” to provide much-needed legal support for immigrants to assess their eligibility for U.S citizenship and to help complete their applications. Close to three hundred New Yorkers attended the event, receiving legal support for citizenship applications and information on banking, health care, immigration fraud, and voter registration, as well as citizenship fee waiver assistance for low income New Yorkers and a fee voucher lottery for working immigrant families through Governor Cuomo’s NaturalizeNY program. The event was held at the youth service organization, The Door.

Citizenship Day was held during National Welcoming Week, an annual series of events that bring U.S communities together in the spirit of unity to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone- including new Americans. NYIC, a member organization and executive committee member of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) joins dozens of organizations across the country in observing the annual Citizenship Day. In supporting New York immigrants who are eligible for citizenship, today’s event sends a message that despite one’s origin or reasons for coming to the United States, all individuals are united through their new status as American citizens looking to achieve their American Dreams. The event also comes on the heels of the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, a global meeting of heads of state and government to better support refugees and migrants.

Steven Choi, executive director of New York Immigration Coalition said, “Now more than ever, we must remember that the United States was founded as a nation that welcomed new people to its shores. We are proud to be teaming up with our city and state partners to provide support for New Yorkers who are eligible for citizenship. In so doing, we are celebrating old, new, and future U.S citizens, including people who have come to the U.S as refugees and those seeking better lives. We are sending a message that New York embraces newcomers and we will help see them through the process of becoming fully fledged citizens of this country.”

Allan Wernick, director of CUNY Citizenship Now! said, “CUNY, our nation’s largest urban university, is pleased have played a role in organizing this year’s Citizenship Day. We like to say that CUNY is America’s most immigrant-friendly university.  Citizenship Now!, CUNY’s free citizenship and immigration service program, our staff and our volunteers, have helped ten of thousands of New Yorkers on the path to U.S. citizenship. The Citizenship Day event is another way we say “welcome” to immigrants from around the world.”

In a show of support, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said, “One of the things that makes New York the greatest City in the world is that it has always been a gateway to the United States for new immigrants from around the globe. This diversity is our strength and Citizenship Day serves as an important reminder to celebrate our immigrant heritage, while fighting for and protecting the rights of recently arrived immigrants.”

“The New York State Office for New Americans is proud to stand with our partners to promote citizenship and help our State’s New Americans become engaged in our democracy,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “Through our NaturalizeNY initiative and our network of Opportunity Centers throughout the State, New York stands at the forefront of providing opportunity and helping immigrants achieve their American dream.” 

Join the conversation about American citizenship and share your story about being American, by using the hashtag #WhyImAmerican

For photos, email NYIC senior communications manager Thanu Yakupitiyage at tyaku@nyic.org.

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The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)  is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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