"I’ve really enjoyed working on the Citizenship Hub project for many reasons. To begin, it has been an incredibly worthwhile and rewarding journey to form partnerships with organizations across the US that share a common directive – helping immigrants naturalize within the US. Above all, I have been inspired and motivated by the ability to be a resource to many families and individuals in need. The landscape of the naturalization process is ever-evolving, and I feel privileged to be in a position that provides some guidance in navigating the US immigration system.”
Gerardo Ramos, Senior Associate for Immigration at IRC, was interviewed by the Citizenshipworks Team for an overview of IRC's newest project, Citizenship Hub.
What is Citizenship Hub and what started the project?
The Citizenship Hub is a project of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the New Americans Campaign (NAC) to provide support and legal assistance to immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship. We use Citizenshipworks, a free and secure online service, to guide applicants through the process.
The Citizenship Hub supports both naturalization applicants and the organizations that serve them in a few key ways. First, it acts as a centralized point of access for services, streamlining the process of referring people who need help with their naturalization applications and helping make sure they connect with a quality legal provider. Secondly, the Citizenship Hub can expand access to naturalization services for people in areas of the country that are underserved by connecting them with a legal provider in another city or state. And thirdly, it assists naturalization applicants in completing Form N-400 (the citizenship application), combating gaps in digital literacy, and allowing legal practitioners to focus on legal review services.
Can you walk us through the workflow of Citizenship Hub?
An applicant will first complete an initial eligibility screening on the IRC Citizenship Hub Citizenshipworks Portal. Once that is completed, an applicant is asked to create an account. After creating an account and logging in, the applicant will be asked to agree to the IRC’s service agreement and begin their citizenship application. Once the client signs up, a Citizenship Hub staff member will reach out through Citizenshipworks, email, text message and/or phone call and offer application completion assistance.
If an appointment is requested, Citizenship Hub staff will meet with the applicant and provide assistance in completing the application assistance. If everything is clear, we begin collecting documents. Lastly, we identify a legal partner that will provide a legal review of the application and begin the transfer of the client to the legal review partner. The client then submits the application to USCIS pro se or the legal provider provides representation.
How do you get in contact with the client?
We send a message through Citizenshipworks, email, or send them text messages. A client can also schedule an appointment with us using Calendly. If they schedule an appointment, it is done through Zoom and/or a phone call.
Which one works best?
Using text messages for initial contact has resulted in more responses.
What criteria does an applicant need to receive assistance?
We can assist an applicant if they are eligible for naturalization and have internet access.
How can a legal partner be part of Citizenship Hub? What are the criteria?
To join, a legal partner is asked to complete the Citizenship Hub Partner Form. The form will ask for the name of the organization, contact information, details on whether they provide legal services, their parameters, restrictions, and if they currently use Citizenshipworks. In addition to legal service providers, Citizenship Hub partners can also be organizations, businesses, institutions that work with immigration, universities, community colleges, YMCA, etc.
What is the referral process like?
After a legal partner submits a referral through our Client Registration Form (this form ensures the client is reconnected to the same legal provider for legal review), our Citizenship Hub staff will connect with the client within 24 hours and offer assistance in completing the citizenship application. Once the application is complete, we reach out to the legal review partner and begin the transfer of the case through Citizenshipworks.
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