Several hundred green card holders took a step toward becoming U.S. citizens this past weekend during a “Citizenship Day” program that provided applicants with free legal assistance. I, along with many other volunteers, assisted several hundred green card holders to determine whether or not they are eligible to apply for citizenship, and then assisting them prepare the N-400 form.
The event, held on May 1, 2010 at the Benavides Learning Center/Las Palmas Library at 515 Castroville Rd., was one of many held across the USA, as part of nationwide Citizenship Day. The program was sponsored by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
To be eligible for citizenship, residents must generally have had a green card for at least five years, but many have been here longer. For people earning minimum wage and trying to save $675 to file the N-400, much less legal fees for help with the application, the free legal help offered this past weekend was a â€œblessingâ€ according to applicants.