Cities for Citizenship (C4C) is a major national initiative of more than 25 participating cities and counties aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents and encouraging investment in citizenship and financial empowerment programs. There are currently 8.8 million lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are eligible to naturalize across the United States. Yet, each year fewer than nine percent of those who are eligible to naturalize take the important step of applying for citizenship due to a variety of barriers. As a result, the U.S. economy misses out on billions of dollars in potential individual earnings and tax revenues.
Cities and counties play an integral role in promoting naturalization and removing the barriers that prevent LPRs from completing the citizenship process, ultimately fostering a more inclusive, robust and representative democracy. Since C4C’s inception in 2014, and with support from Citi Community Development, New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles have been at the forefront of this effort, helping to lead the way in creating scalable naturalization programs that can be replicated across the country.
There are more than 25 participating cities and counties, including Miami-Dade and Suffolk Counties – together representing over 40 additional cities, in the C4C network. To help make the program a success, we partner with AFL-CIO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), the National Federation of Credit Development Unions, Welcoming America and 32 BJ SEIU – all of whom have strong roots in immigrant communities and help serve as a bridge linking immigrant communities with municipal governments.
This Cities for Citizenship Toolkit outlines strategies for cities and counties to launch and expand citizenship initiatives by sharing lessons learned and best practices from across the country.