NEWS  

1101 Market Street, 11th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: 215-238-6300 • Fax: 215-238-1267 • www.philadelphiabar.org

June 02, 2017

Take Action Philly Seeks Candidates in Need of Assistance for U.S. Citizenship Applications

Contact: Meredith Z. Avakian-Hardaway (215) 238-6342, mavakianhardaway@philabar.org

City officials and the Philadelphia Bar Association are currently working together to provide free legal assistance to individuals and families seeking U.S. citizenship. Throughout June, Take Action Philly (TAP), a coalition led by the Philadelphia Bar Association, with the support of the City of Philadelphia and several nonprofit legal aid organizations, is helping residents along on their path to citizenship by hosting a series of free citizenship screenings and clinics. While these screenings are being held in recognition of Immigrant Heritage Month in June, they will continue throughout the year. Screenings for eligible applicants will be held bi-monthly, followed by a citizenship clinic the following month.

“I am so incredibly proud of our City’s legal community and their response to the immigrant community in Philadelphia,” said Miriam Enriquez, director for the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This has been an incredible effort of so many different organizations. The time and legal assistance given by the volunteer lawyers is valuable and necessary to help residents on their path to citizenship.”

Individuals interested in completing a pathway to citizenship, must be over 18 years of age, be a Green Card holder for at least five years, have lived in the Philadelphia area for the last three months and be able to read, write and speak basic English.

TAP encourages eligible individuals and families to call 215-238-6301 and register to attend any of the following screening clinics:

  • Saturday, June 10, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave., 19149
  • Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Charles Santore Library, 932 S. 7th St., 19147
  • Monday, June 26, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., Greater Olney Library, 5501 N. 5th St., 19120
  • Wednesday, June 28, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., Wyoming Library, 231 E. Wyoming Ave., 19120

Additionally, refugees that believe they’re eligible for adjustment of status are encourage to contact 215-893-8400. Clinics will be closed to the press to protect the privacy of applicants and their families.

“It is part of our social responsibility to give back and our duty as lawyers to uphold the rule of law,” said Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Deborah R. Gross. “It’s so important for us to support our community in meaningful ways, especially during such uncertain times. I urge anyone who is seeking assistance with their U. S. citizenship application to register for one of our screening clinics.”

The Philadelphia Bar Association, with the support of the City of Philadelphia and a number of prominent non-profit legal aid organizations, formed Take Action Philly (TAP) in February. The coalition held a convening with more than 500 members of the city’s legal community to educate them about the anticipated impact of federal and state policy decisions in various topic areas, as well as share clear ways that they can help. TAP’s first convening focused on immigrant and refugee policy, drew nearly 600 people, and subsequently resulted in the training of more than 250 people to provide legal representation.

Through this unprecedented effort, TAP unites lawyers, government, community organizations and residents to protect and assist Philadelphia residents. The first round of screenings and clinics were held in April and May. That effort saw 23 volunteer attorneys and 4 supervising attorneys provide one-on-one assistance to 34 immigrants in completing their citizenship applications. The second round of screenings will be held in June and the second citizenship clinic will be held in July.

In general, an individual age 18 or older seeking to become a citizen of the United States must apply for naturalization by filing an Application for Naturalization. An average of 3-5 months is required to process citizenship applications. TAP is working to assist legal permanent residents that are eligible for naturalization with access to culturally competent, conveniently located and pro bono immigration legal services.

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