Saturday, August 02, 2014
   
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Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative

The Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative (GBCI) is a collaborative project that helps eligible legal permanent residents overcome barriers to naturalization. This initiative was created by the Fish Family Foundation and MIRA Coalition in partnership with six other immigrant, community-based, and direct service organizations to increase naturalization rates in the state.

GBCI partner agencies provide a range of support services for LPRs seeking citizenship, including civics instruction, application assistance, and referrals to legal services and ESOL classes. In addition, GBCI offers FREE clinics providing LPRs the legal guidance, referrals and materials needed to successfully complete their application, pass their citizenship test and become fully integrated members of the United States.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: www.gbcinitiative.org

 

The core partners with MIRA and the Fish Foundation in this effort are the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Centro Latino, College Bound Dorchester, Irish International Immigrant Center and the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, all of whom are well-established and respected pillars in their communities. The GBCI collaborative harnesses the established networks, trust, resources and services that these organizations have built over decades of direct-service.

With the 7th largest foreign-born population in the United States, Massachusetts' immigrant population is as diverse as anywhere in the nation. Our foreign-born population drives and invigorates our local economies. Massachusetts' foreign-born population holds over half the PhDs in the state, comprises 17 percent of our workforce and contributes as students, workers, home and business-owners. The GBCI believes that citizenship is the best indicator of social integration and is the mark of an innovative and robust economy.

Of the estimated 320,000 legal permanent residents in Massachusetts, 180,000 are eligible to naturalize. The benefits of citizenship are numerous, including the right to vote, protection from deportation and the freedom to petition for unification with family members abroad. The barriers to naturalization remain but they are not insuperable. GBCI's mission is to help clients overcome the barriers they face in becoming fuller, more integrated New Americans.

GBCI member organizations coordinate ongoing "Citizenship Clinics" in the greater Boston area with FREE citizenship application assistance and legal advice. At the event, immigration lawyers, BIA accredited representatives, law students and interpreters screen applicants for eligibility and guide applicants through the entire application process.

In addition to direct assistance, GBCI offers the following FREE materials:

  • A checklist of documents you must submit for citizenship.
  • Referral to qualified attorneys, if necessary.
  • Referral to citizenship and ESOL classes, if necessary.
  • Study materials for the citizenship test.

In order to further support citizenship applicants, all of our collaborative members offer a number of English and citizenship classes to prepare participants for their citizenship tests.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: www.gbcinitiative.org

GBCI invites all legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship, think they might be eligible OR would like more information about future naturalization opportunities to attend an event.