By Joaquin Uy
Ethnic Media & Communications Specialist
City of Seattle Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs
Photo by Nate Gowdy
The City of Seattle joined U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to commemorate Citizenship Day on Sept. 17 by announcing a new joint citizenship campaign, followed by a naturalization ceremony.
Mayor Ed Murray, City Librarian Marcellus Turner, Parks & Recreation Deputy Superintendent Christopher Williams, Finance & Administrative Services Director Fred Podesta, and USCIS District Director Anne Corsano formally announced a partnership to strengthen citizenship education and awareness efforts. For over 50 years, Seattle Public Libraries has offered free citizenship resources in multiple languages and a variety of formats within libraries across the City. This partnership will amplify the library’s work by creating dedicated spaces in other City venues, such as customer service centers and community centers, where immigrants can find information about becoming a citizen and where to access services.
“Our vibrant, multicultural community — and our economy — are stronger when we support immigrants and refugees on the path toward U.S. citizenship,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We are building new partnerships to educate Seattle residents on the benefits of naturalization by providing citizenship information and access to resources around the City.”
These “Citizenship Corners” include citizenship test preparation materials, local community resources, and a workstation with access to a citizenship website allowing for online access to information and tools to apply for citizenship. USCIS also plans to train other City officials about the naturalization process and the free preparation resources available to immigrants.
Additionally, the City will integrate citizenship information into the scope of services provided to Seattle residents through select City venues, including community centers in immigrant-dense neighborhoods. Residents will be able to access information on citizenship offered by USCIS and get information about free ESL and citizenship classes offered at The Seattle Public Library.
During Thursday’s City Hall announcement, the Mayor and Director Corsano highlighted the need to incorporate all sectors of the City in the effort to support new citizens and to create more welcoming communities. “USCIS is proud to join Mayor Murray in providing immigrants with greater access to information and resources as they pursue their ultimate goal of full membership in our society as U.S. citizens,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said. “We look forward to working with the Mayor’s office and other City services in providing everything that’s needed to help immigrants become part of a welcoming and robust Seattle.”
Seattle is USCIS’ eighth municipal partner, joining Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York.
Following the announcement, USCIS conducted a naturalization ceremony, with Mayor Murray providing remarks and District Director Corsano swearing in 10 new citizens. (end)
Joaquin Uy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.