Saturday, June 28, 2008

$1.85 million Knight Foundation grant will help 500 Silicon Valley immigrants become citizens

This program will help 500 immigrants become citizens, partly with the fees and partly with the application process. DP

By Ken McLaughlin, Mercury News The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has given the San Jose-based Opportunity Fund a $1.85 million grant to launch a new program aimed at helping 500 low-income immigrants in Silicon Valley become citizens.
The Saving for Citizenship program is a "direct response" to last year's 80 percent jump in the cost of citizen application fees - from $330 to $595, officials of the Miami-based Knight Foundation say.

"Increased fees represent a significant barrier to obtaining citizenship," said Teresa Castellanos, who coordinates Santa Clara County's Immigrant Relations and Integration Services programs.

Through the new program, families will complete 12 hours of education about the American financial system, save $500 toward their citizenship costs and receive $1,000 in matching funds to cover application expenses, including fees and fingerprinting costs, for two adults.

Saving for Citizenship will also teach immigrants how to navigate the U.S. financial system; train them in budgeting, investing and analyzing loan products; and provide assistance with the citizenship application process.

"Low-wage, immigrant workers are a vital part of the San Jose community's infrastructure - as child-care providers, service workers and more - yet they often fall outside of the civic and financial mainstream, making it harder for them to participate fully in society and build a better life for their families," said Eric Weaver, CEO of the Opportunity Fund, formerly called Lenders for Community Development.

1 comment:

MortEscura said...

I'm amazed with all this.

I'm naturally from Portugal, and I met my husband 2 Christmas back.
We married last August (2007) and...
the costs to become a United States Citizen are, unfortunately, high.

I got my papers relatively "fast", but we paid a immigration lawyer to help us out. She really did.
But it obviously, cost way more.

"How to Live & Thrive in the U.S." definitely sounds interesting.

I have so many questions but I should ask those using your "contact information" ... :)

Best Regards,