On Citizenship Day Nonprofit Advocates Launch Redesigned
Naturalization Website, Citizenshipworks
In commemoration of Citizenship Day, The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) and Pro Bono Net are pleased to announce the release of the newly-designed Citizenshipworks site (citizenshipworks.org). Citizenshipworks is an online platform that helps people fill out the citizenship application on their own, or with the legal help they need. Since 2016 Citizenshipworks has been used to help nearly 50,000 individuals navigate the naturalization process, saving almost $10 million in legal fees. The new design makes it easier for people to use the site, and understand the application/naturalization process. Citizenshipworks' mission is to make applying for citizenship safer, simpler, and more affordable The Citizenshipworks redesign was made possible through the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
"With this redesign, we brought nearly six months of user engagement and observations to the reimagining f our award-winning tool," says IAN Director Rodrigo Camarena, "Our new design is focused on helping Green Card holders that might feel intimidated by the naturalization process, feel more confident and supported in their citizenship journey." The updated design features easy-to-follow steps and instructions for applicants filing on their own, without a lawyer. The interview flags potential issues for applicants and connects them, as needed, to free legal help from our network of more than 200 partner nonprofit legal services organizations.
"The new look and feel will help more individuals apply for citizenship on their own, with confidence and provides a digital first path to obtain free legal help for those who need assistance," says Pro Bono Net Executive Director Mark O'Brien. "This builds on Pro Bono Net's nearly 20-year history creating digital tools that make the power of law available to all, regardless of income or geography."
"Citizenshipworks is an innovative tool that provides a safe and simple way to reach the nearly 9 million lawful permanent residents who are eligible to apply," says Sandra Sandoval, Citizenshipworks Program Manager. "With Citizenshipworks, we make applying for citizenship accessible by reducing barriers for applicants and connecting them to quality assistance."
"Our goal is to make citizenship accessible to more people, by providing free and safe support throughout the application process. Citizenshipworks helps the New Americans Campaign reach more people, and target legal expertise to the people who need it most," says Melissa Rodgers, Director of Programs at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the lead organization for the New Americans Campaign - a nonpartisan national network of trusted non-profit partners dedicated to promoting U.S. citizenship and naturalization services.
The positive impacts of citizenship for refugees and immigrants is clear. From protection from deportation to expanded employment opportunities, freedom to travel, and the right to vote, becoming a US Citizen can be a transformative opportunity for longtime Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) and their families. Despite these overwhelming benefits, of the nearly 9 million eligible LPRs, fewer than 10 percent naturalize each year. Barriers to naturalization include a lack of awareness about the process; high legal fees by private attorneys and limited capacity of nonprofit providers; language, geography; a complex 21-page form; and the cost of the application fee, among others.
The Citizenshipworks national network of nonprofit partners provides legal support and expertise. Citizenshipworks is available in plain language Spanish, Chinese, and English. To learn more, visit www.citizenshipworks.org.
About Immigration Advocates Network, Pro Bono Net, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a project of Pro Bono Net, We create our own tools, build platforms for others, and work with partners to harness the power of technology and collective action to better support immigrants and their advocates. The Citizenshipworks site leverages technology developed by Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit that brings the power of the law to all by building cutting-edge digital tools and fostering collaborations with the nation's leading civil legal organizations. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) works with and educates immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector to continue to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. The ILRC helps to create legal content, and provide legal expertise for Citizenshipworks. To learn more, visit www.ilrc.org.