WASHINGTON, DC – In a move aimed at strengthening integration and inclusion efforts for new Americans, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the allocation of over $22 million in grants to 65 organizations operating in 29 states. The funds are designated to aid lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in their journey towards naturalization. USCIS emphasized its commitment to reaching remote, underserved, and vulnerable communities in alignment with Executive Order 14012, titled “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans,” along with the corresponding Interagency Strategy on Promoting Naturalization.
This fiscal year (FY), the grant program received a notable increase of $5 million from FY 2022, signaling a heightened focus on fostering civic integration and facilitating the naturalization process. The Citizenship and Integration Grants, awarded annually, play a pivotal role in enhancing immigrants’ understanding of English, U.S. history, and civics while preparing them for citizenship.
The USCIS Director, Ur M. Jaddou, expressed the agency’s dedication to making the United States a more inclusive and welcoming nation. Jaddou noted, “Through this grants program, we help ensure that community organizations are available to provide immigrants with opportunities to improve their English language skills, increase their understanding of U.S. history and government, and to help them integrate into American society and be successful citizens.”
The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, now in its 15th year, has disbursed nearly $155 million across 644 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 41 states and the District of Columbia since its inception in 2009. This program has enabled over 300,000 LPRs to prepare for citizenship and has been instrumental in expanding the availability of high-quality citizenship and integration services across the nation.
The USCIS distributed these grants through three competitive funding opportunities:
1. Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services (CINAS): This initiative provides funding to public or nonprofit organizations offering citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to immigrants. USCIS awarded up to $450,000 each to 51 organizations for a two-year period.
2. Community and Regional Integration Network Grant (CARING): This grant focuses on individualized programming for specific immigrant groups, including those admitted under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, asylees, Cuban or Haitian entrants, Special Immigrant Visa recipients, victims of human trafficking and criminal activity, and individuals protected under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). USCIS awarded one organization experienced in serving vulnerable populations up to $300,000 for a two-year period.
3. Innovations in Citizenship Preparation Program: This grant supports innovative approaches to preparing immigrants for naturalization, emphasizing civic, linguistic, and cultural integration into their communities. USCIS provided up to $250,000 each to 13 organizations for a two-year period.
Through these grants, USCIS continues to play a pivotal role in empowering immigrants with the tools and knowledge necessary to become active and engaged citizens of the United States. The investment in these programs is a testament to the nation’s commitment to inclusivity and the rich tapestry of diversity that defines the United States.