New Citizens Will Be the Voice of Immigrants

Applying for citizenship last week in Brentwood.
Applying for citizenship last week in Brentwood.

Last week CARECEN held another Citizenship Day, this time in Brentwood. Every time we have offered free citizenship help in places like Brentwood, Hempstead, and Westbury we hear the same thing-“We want a voice.” As immigration reform has been replaced by immigrant bashing in the House of Representatives, permanent residents are coming to us in record numbers to fill out their applications for citizenship. Last night my colleague Elise Damas was on Telemundo speaking about CARECEN’s free citizenship services. Today 24 people got in touch with us to begin the naturalization process.

Immigrants tell us that they don’t just want to be citizens, they also want to be voters. As one woman told us last week, “If we vote, they have to listen to us.”

If you need free help applying for citizenship, call CARECEN at 516-489-8330.



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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.