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Naturalization workshop a vital support in NYC

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Volunteers were given scripts and prepared by IRC staff to play roles in naturalization interviews. Photo: Paula Forero/IRC.

The IRC in NY's Immigration Department held its first mock naturalization workshop on Saturday, July 27th. The IRC in NY's Immigration team identified clients whose naturalization interview was approaching and invited them to the office for a mock naturalization interview. The IRC in NY usually refers clients to ESL and citizenship preparation classes offered throughout the city, but is unaware of any program that would walk them through the naturalization interview itself. To address that gap, the IRC in NY's Immigration team wanted to provide a service IRC clients weren’t getting to help them feel at ease about the naturalization interview itself. Clients can find mock interviews online, but in-person felt like a better option for clients.

Therefore, the Immigration team enlisted the help of key IRC staff and asked them to recruit volunteers for the mock naturalization workshop. Volunteers were sent the official USCIS video on the naturalization interview and then on the day of the workshop, staff reviewed the video with them. IRC staff gave the volunteers instructions and a script they could follow for the interview. Clients were prepared to treat the workshop as if it was the actual USCIS naturalization interview.

Afterward, the clients could meet with the IRC in NY's in-house attorney who had filed their case and ask any final questions. Three days after the event, one of our clients texted the IRC in NY's Immigration team right after his interview and said, "It was perfect...whatever I was asked last Saturday in IRC, it came out exactly like that."

Clients walked through the naturalization interview process as if it were real to ensure they were prepared for their upcoming interviews with USCIS. Photo: Paula Forero/IRC.

The IRC in NY's Immigration team is thrilled with the client’s response and hopes to repeat this workshop on a quarterly basis to help clients feel more comfortable and prepared for their naturalization interviews.

 If you are interested in volunteering for future events like this and supporting this program, please click here.