Philadelphia Introduces Step Up To Citizenship Campaign

Kevin Bocicaut, for GPA -- The magic ingredients for the diversity and traditions that make Philadelphia so unique are the individuals who have come from all different parts of the world to reside in the region.

As the most recent initiative in its long history of promoting cultural diversity, the city of Philadelphia announced the launch of the Step Up to Citizenship campaign. This campaign is designed to advance the naturalization process for individuals who obtain legal residency in the United States to become citizens.

Because Philadelphia is heavily influenced by cultures from all over the world, the launch of this campaign can only bring a greater good to the city.

“There are literally thousands of Philadelphians, many who have lived, worked and raised families in the United States for years, who could benefit from becoming U.S. citizens,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter in a press release. “The Step Up To Citizenship campaign will help these residents navigate the often complicated process to becoming a citizen so that they may access all the rights and benefits afforded with that status. Being a United States citizen is a crucial step in achieving the American Dream.”

The Mayor views the opportunity of Step Up to Citizenship as an avenue to help those who have developed a life not only in Philadelphia, but throughout the United States to gain citizenship. The launch of this campaign can help many individuals receive citizenship and spread more of their cultures within the city of Philadelphia as well as the rest of the country.

The development of this campaign was led by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MOIMA), the American Immigration Lawyers Association of PA (AILA), the Pennsylvania chapter of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS-PA) and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC).

HIAS Executive Director Jessica Bernstein-Baker said that one of the main reason it is difficult for many immigrants to attain citizenship in the United States is because of the costly application fees and the lack of information about eligibility requirements.

MOIMA Executive Director Jennifer Rodriguez added that the launch of this campaign will not only benefit the individual seeking to obtain citizenship but also the city.

“The benefits of naturalization to cities include increased voting and political participation, improved connections between communities and local services, and strengthened economies thanks to new citizens’ increased earning potential,” she said.

The Step Up to Citizenship campaign’s main objective is to bring more opportunities to immigrants and to the city as a whole. For the rest of the year, the campaign will be providing assistance and information to “Legal Permanent Residents” as well as helping to assist with fee waivers for government applications.

Image courtesy of CBS Philly.