LOS ANGELES – Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – Los Angeles), formerly the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), will be providing a citizenship workshop in Lancaster, CA on June 29, 2013 at Lancaster City Park (43063 10 St., W. Lancaster, CA 93534) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The city of Lancaster is known for being an area that is underserved when it comes to legal services. Advancing Justice – Los Angeles expects to provide naturalization assistance to more than 200 individuals. The workshop is an opportunity for low-income residents, who would otherwise be inhibited from applying for citizenship because of cost, to receive free application assistance and citizenship study materials.
Aside from having a sizable Latino population, the Lancaster area has a large Filipino, Pacific Islander, and Sri Lankan community. Low-cost legal services are limited in the area, as are providers who can offer in-language support. By bringing the service of free application assistance in-language, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles will be providing a much-needed service to the immigrant community at no cost. In addition to providing legal services, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles will determine applicant’s eligibility for the fee waiver, which many immigrants are not aware of. If an applicant qualifies, they are not required to pay the $680 filing fee for naturalization.
“Lancaster is one of those hidden cities right at the cusp of the Los Angeles and Kern County lines with a high number of lawful permanent residents who are eligible for naturalization” said Nasim Khansari, citizenship network manager at Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “This will be the first time we are headed to Lancaster and our efforts are certainly recognized.”
Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is partnering with OneJustice, Lancaster United Methodist Church, and the Ya es Hora campaign led by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials Educational Fund (NALEO Ed Fund) to help spread the word about the naturalization workshop. OneJustice has dedicated itself to providing pro-bono attorneys and volunteers in areas of high need like Lancaster. The partnership with OneJustice and the Lancaster United Methodist church will provide over 75 qualified volunteers and attorneys who can assist applicants on the day of the workshop.
At the workshop, Advancing Justice – Los Angeles staff and trained volunteers will help qualified lawful permanent residents complete their Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) as well as a Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912), if they qualify. Eligibility for various other waivers will be assessed as well. Workshop participants will receive interview and test preparation materials for free, including a copy of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) 100 Questions, vocabulary and civics flash cards, and a copy of Citizenship 101: Your Guide to Citizenship, a comprehensive instructional DVD and workbook package. Translated versions of the 100 Civics Questions will also be available for applicants in Spanish and Tagalog. Passport photos will be offered as well for $5.
Advancing Justice – Los Angeles encourages Lancaster-area residents to attend the citizenship workshop. Appointments are suggested, and can be made by calling Advancing Justice – Los Angeles at (213) 977-7500 x255. Walk-ins will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis, and are not guaranteed same-day services.
Generally, in order to naturalize, an individual must:
• Be at least 18 years old
• Be a permanent resident (“green card holder”)
• Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years as a permanent resident
• Have been physically present in the United States for at least two and a half years
• Demonstrate good moral character
• Have a basic understanding of U.S. government and history
• Be able to understand, speak, read, and write basic English
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