MIRA Receives One of 40 Federal Citizenship Grants
On National Citizenship Day, USCIS Awards MIRA Major Grant to Support Citizenship Preparation Services in Boston, and in Rural Areas with the Center for New Americans
BOSTON — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced it will award the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) a grant of $250,000 to support its citizenship preparation services for permanent residents through September 2015. MIRA is one of 40 organizations from 21 states to receive a total of nearly $9.9 million through USCIS’ fiscal year 2013 Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. Since the program began in October 2009, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has helped more than 66,000 permanent residents in 31 states and the District of Columbia prepare for citizenship. Through Sept. 30, 2015, USCIS anticipates that an additional 31,000 permanent residents will receive citizenship preparation services.
“There is a continued need for high-quality citizenship preparation services in communities across the country,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “This funding will help thousands of permanent residents gain the support they need to learn English and civics, and embrace the important rights and responsibilities of United States citizenship.”
“We are thrilled to be a recipient of this major grant, so that we can better reach and serve the thousands of qualified permanent residents who have not yet applied for citizenship,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director of MIRA. “This is also a great opportunity to deepen our partnership with the Center for New Americans, our partner for the work in rural Western Massachusetts, and to strengthen our bonds with other providers in the region.”
The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) has provided advocacy, organizing, education and strategic communications for the rights and opportunities of immigrants and refugees in New England for more a quarter century. Through the Rural Massachusetts Citizenship Partnership, MIRA will partner with the Center for New Americans to offer citizenship classes in Northampton, Amherst, Greenfield, and Boston. In its rural work, MIRA primarily expects to serve permanent residents from Moldova, Romania, China, the Dominican Republic, Laos, Ghana, Cambodia, Thailand, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, and Morocco. USCIS grant funding will allow MIRA to provide 230 permanent residents with citizenship instruction and 1,320 permanent residents with naturalization application services.
The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program is part of a multifaceted effort to support effective citizenship preparation services and provide information to immigrants and immigrant-serving organizations. USCIS complements this grant program with its Citizenship Resource Center, a centralized Web resource that provides learning materials to help permanent residents prepare for the naturalization process, and partnerships with federal and municipal agencies designed to raise awareness of the rights, responsibilities and importance of U.S. citizenship among the estimated 8.8 million permanent residents nationwide eligible to apply for naturalization.
This year’s announcement is part of USCIS’s celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, commemorated every Sept. 17 in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill formalizing the celebration of Citizenship Day. In 2004, Congress established Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
For additional information on the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, please visit www.uscis.gov/grants.