White House Launches Campaign To Get Immigrants To Sign Up For Citizenship

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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President Barack Obama launched a multilingual public awareness campaign Thursday to encourage immigrants and refugees to sign up for citizenship and to build a volunteer support team.

Local governments, community organizers and others will partner with the White House to host 70 “citizenship outreach” events in the first week alone in an effort to promote citizenship and make it easier for immigrants and refugees to sign up. (RELATED: USCIS Is Marketing Citizenship To Fight Terror)

“The ‘Stand Stronger’ Campaign aims to break down the barriers for eligible immigrants and refugees to become U.S. citizens,” the White House said in a statement announcing the campaign. Refugees and immigrants “are critical to our country’s continued economic prosperity,” the statement added.

The White House estimates 8.8 million of the approximately 13.3 legal permanent residents of the United States are eligible to apply for citizenship. That includes over 3 million refugees. (RELATED: Boston Partners With Feds To Market Citizenship To Illegals)

The White House Task Force on New Americans, created by executive order in 2014, is behind existing efforts to promote citizenship, as well as this new campaign. The task force aims to ensure immigrants and refugees have the tools, support and encouragement they need to move forward.

New efforts include public service announcements in digital and print media, an additional $10 million of grant money to be awarded to organizations that help immigrants obtain citizenship, and the commitment of 150 AmeriCorps volunteers to help communities build welcoming teams.

“If you’re eligible, commit to becoming a citizen today,” Obama says in a video kicking off the campaign.

It’s an an important step for you and an important step for our nation,” he adds. “Join us. Together we can make America stand even stronger.”

The U.S. foreign-born population has reached an all time high of 42.1 million — helped along by a rebounding Mexican immigrant population — and is now 13 percent of the U.S. population. (RELATED: Wages Declined As Immigration Surged)

By 2023 the Census Bureau projects the foreign-born population will exceed 51 million — the largest share of total population ever recorded in American history. And nearly one in five U.S. residents will be an immigrant by 2060, largely because of legal immigration, not illegal immigration.

The U.S. is set to add a bloc of new permanent immigrants — 10 million — in the next decade that is larger than the combined populations of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, if Congress does not reduce the number of green cards issued each year. (RELATED: NYT, Brookings Unwittingly Show How Immigration Affects Wages)

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