On April 24th and May 1st, the IRC in New York’s immigration team held two virtual naturalization workshops along with partners the Queens Public Library and CitizenshipWorks. This adaptation to safely offer immigration services during COVID-19 quarantine conditions is a remarkable effort for immigrants in New York City. It was truly a team effort, with the Queens Public Library conducting outreach by sending an email blast to their entire listserv and advertising through local city council newsletters.
The IRC’s immigration team used long-time partner CitizenshipWorks’ online platform to complete citizenship applications for participants. CitizenshipWorks is an online tool designed to streamline the naturalization process for lawful permanent residents applying for U.S. citizenship.
The first naturalization workshop was intended to be an in-person event on April 24th but, due to COVID-19 mass closings, the event became virtual instead. IRC had 20 registrants signed up and decided to hold the event over two Fridays instead to better serve participants applying for citizenship.
The immigration team was very fortunate to recruit two experienced immigration attorneys to conduct attorney review of applications during the citizenship events. An additional volunteer helped with application fee waivers for participants who qualified due to low income or use of public benefits.
The IRC in NY’s immigration team is very happy that they were able to operationalize this model one month after switching to remote working, and they have plans to continue hosting these virtual naturalization workshops through the summer. This vital work must continue during the COVID-19 crisis. To support IRC’s COVID-19 response work and program adaptation, click here.