Houston Immigrants Get Help With Citizenship Through Federal Grants


Three Houston nonprofits have received nearly $1 million in grants to help prepare immigrants who are lawful permanent residents to become U.S. citizens.

The grant from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was part of a $20 million program to expand naturalization preparation services to 30 states. Sixty-six organizations across the country have received funding approved by Congress.

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The nonprofits were selected for their work to “prepare immigrants for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, United States history, and civic education,” according to a press release from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Boat People SOS offers English, Vietnamese and Spanish lessons to prepare people for their naturalization test, which they must pass to become a citizen. Similarly, BakerRipley currently facilitates forums and courses on citizenship and Catholic charities offers citizenship workshops.

“We are committed to educating isolated, underserved and vulnerable populations about the benefits of citizenship and the naturalization process,” said agency director Ur M. Jaddou.

Grant funding can be used by nonprofits through September 2024.

The Houston field office had nearly 29,000 pending naturalization applications, according to the agency’s most recent data from June 2022, which is more applications than any other agency office nationwide, at the exception of Dallas, which had about 100 more applications than Houston.


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