Casa de Maryland is going to start offering micro loans to cover naturalization costs for Maryland immigrants.
In Maryland, the immigrant services group Casa De Maryland is launching a program that offers micro loans to those seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens. The loans have a narrow purpose.
The fee to enter the naturalization process tripled over the past few years. It now costs around $675, and that's a lot of money for the many immigrants struggling to maintain jobs, says Casa De Maryland's executive director Gustavo Torres. He says the loans are designed to help people pay that fee.
"The people who are playing by the rules. The legal permanent residents who are trying to become citizens, but are having some challenges. We believe we are helping them with this opportunity," says Torres.
The interest rate for the loans is 9 percent for six months. Right now it is open only to residents of Maryland, but Torres says if the loans are successful, they will expand the program to the rest of the D.C. region.