Chicanos Por La Causa is launching its Citizenship Loan Program to help immigrants cover the citizenship application cost, as well as aid them in the steps that follow.
The citizenship application costs $725 to complete and turn in, money which many can’t afford to spend at the moment. With help from the Slim Foundation and Marisol Credit Union, CPLC is able to give out loans to the community so they can become citizens.
“What we have found is that more or less there is an estimated 200,000 immigrants in our community who are eligible to more forward with citizenship,” says Natalia Renceria Ceballos, business coach for CPLC. “When we were looking to find what are the barriers and why people weren’t moving with the process, one was a question of language and primarily it was an economic issue.”
People are able to call in or contact CPLC through their website to receive any kind of information regarding their status. Martin Cordoba, also a business coach with CPLC, says most of their calls are from people who don’t know where to begin or if they are even qualified. Many callers are also reaching out to find a way to pay for the application.
“It’s been a wonderful response especially with the community who has no idea how to start,” Cordoba says. “We have the phones ringing all day. They feel very blessed that we have the resources available for them to get them that assistance.”
CPLC also helps people get in contact with different community organizations that offer free citizenship classes. Once a coach and caller have a conversation on where they are in their process and they meet the qualifications, they are directed to a citizen workshop.
“One of the primary elements that we try to help people see, no matter what status you have, you will always have to think about renewing that at sometime,” Ceballos says. “It’s not a permanent status. Once you are a citizen, that’s it. Above and beyond that, you now have the right to vote and voting in this country means having your voice heard.”
To be qualified for a loan, the person must be at least 18 years old, a resident, provide six months of income and have their N400 application. For more information visit cplc.org/N400.