Local Organization Helps Immigrants Apply For Citizenship | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Local Organization Helps Immigrants Apply For Citizenship

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Becoming a United States citizen isn't as hard as many immigrants think. When Orlando Bonilla, business manager for the Baltimore-Washington Laborers' District Council, went through his group's rolls, he found many workers weren't taking advantage of available legal paths to citizenship.

"We did a study and we found out that a lot of our members are actually eligible to become U.S. citizens," says Bonilla. "A lot of them don't become U.S. citizens because they don't have enough information, they think the process is too complicated, or they feel that, maybe, something is holding them back."

His group spent Saturday putting foreign-born workers in touch with lawyers who could help them get through the red tape.

To become eligible for citizenship they need to have lived in the U.S. for five years or be married to a U.S. citizen for three years. They also need to have good moral standing – as in a clean police record – for five years.

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