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Reflections from the IRC in NY virtual naturalization workshop

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Many IRC clients pursue naturalization in hopes of more opportunities available to U.S. Citizens. The process, however, can be long and confusing. The Immigration unit aims to support clients in understanding key phases and requirements in order to ease stress.  

On July 16th the IRC in New York, along with partners Queens Public Library and CitizenshipWorks hosted its first virtual naturalization workshop of the summer. This is the 2nd year that the IRC hosts virtual naturalization workshops since COVID-19 shut down in-person events.  

The team, comprised of the immigration supervisor, immigration legal assistant, 3 summer interns, and 2 volunteer attorneys worked together by screening applicants for eligibility, drafting forms, and conducting legal review. 

As always, the Queens Public Library conducted outreach throughout NYC. Our interns were trained on CitizenshipWorks, an online platform used to prepare the citizenship application, before the event so they could help draft the naturalization applications. 

The turnout yielded some unexpected results. 17 people were screened for services.  Only two people were deemed eligible for services on the day of the event. A few other lawful permanent residents will have to wait a few months to become eligible. Most people who responded to the advertisement weren’t lawful permanent residents but instead were seeking other legal services and immigration information. Staff answered questions and connected individuals to other trusted service providers in the city. Beyond the scope of naturalization, people shared an interest in general reliable legal advice.  

There is a significant demand for legal advice which can serve as a knowledge tool for migrants. The event highlighted how some communities do not always know where to go for services. Upon reflection of this event, the Immigration Unit at IRC in NY is inspired to host more workshops!

NYC is fortunate to have many non-profits providing legal services to immigrant communities. Perhaps the IRC in NY’s future virtual event will be a consultation workshop instead. 

Thank you Queens Public Library and CitizenshipWorks for this collaboration! 

Stay tuned! 

Click here to learn more about Citizenshipworks and the Queen's Public Library! To support the Immigration Unit's exceptional work, please email VolunteerNY [at] rescue.org  or donate here