The Story Behind our Volunteers

Yuleidy C. González Nieto, originally from Colombia, migrated to the United States along with her family at the age of 9. After years of being undocumented herself, today, she volunteers with Florida New Americans helping immigrants in South Florida apply for citizenship and make a change.

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Yuleidy Gonzalez Nieto shares with Fusion her motivation to become a volunteer.

“It wasn’t until quite recently that I received my green card in the mail.” said Gonzalez Nieto. “I feel like I’m going through the process with them.”

To become a Florida New American Volunteer, register HERE. 

CLICK HERE to view the Fusion interview with Yuleidy C. González Nieto.

 

 

Miami-Dade County Joins National “Cities for Citizenship” Campaign

Miami-Dade County Joins National “Cities for Citizenship” Campaign

Miami, FL – Today, the Florida Immigrant Coalition joins Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Chairman Jean Monestime and Commissioner Levine Cava and Citi, celebrating the county’s participation in Cities for Citizenship and the launch the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County (ONA-MDC) to connect eligible immigrants with the resources to naturalize, as well as receive financial and legal counseling.

h_home_c4citizenshipMiami-Dade County now joins almost twenty cities across the country in Cities for Citizenship, a national campaign aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents. It is chaired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, with support from the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans. Citi Community Development is the Founding Corporate Partner. Miami-Dade is the first County in the country to join the campaign.

“For a long time, local and national non-profits have led naturalization efforts in the country; but we understand that in order for this to be sustainable and to really ensure that eligible permanent residents have the support they need to become new Americans and fully integrate to our country, local and state governments need to be involved,” says Francesca Menes, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

In Miami-Dade, the County’s work will be supported by the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Public Libraries, Catholic Legal Services, Florida International University School of Law and Catalyst Miami, among others. Permanent residents will receive assistance in completing the N-400 citizenship application through clinics or one-on-one sessions, be screened for eligibility for the application fee waiver, and gain access to financial coaching.

 “Citizenship is an economic asset for individuals, cities and our economy. Through the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County, access to naturalization and financial coaching resources for those who qualify will be a powerful tool for inclusive economic growth to enable residents to strengthen their financial identities at the same time as they establish new national identities,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development, the Founding Corporate Partner of Cities for Citizenship.

It is estimated that only 10% of the legal permanent residents (LPRs) that are eligible for citizenship, can follow through with the process. Out of the estimated 1.17 million eligible green card holders in Florida, about 494,000 reside in Miami-Dade County, many of them Cuban and Haitian. The low rates of naturalization are usually due to lack of access to information and legal assistance, or economic and language barriers that affect mostly low-income families.

We are grateful to Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Board of County Commissioners for supporting this initiative which could make Miami-Dade county a national leader in promoting the integration of new Americans into our economy and our communities,” adds Menes. “With Cities for Citizenship, the county can assist more than 19% or half a million county residents and strengthen our local economy.

Recent research shows that naturalized immigrants nationally can achieve an increase in earnings of 8% to 11%. In Miami-Dade County, the average income is $23,174. If 247,000 of current eligible LPRs became citizens, the increase in earnings over 5 years is estimated to add between $2.3 billion and $3.2 billion to the local economy in Miami-Dade County. Those who gain citizenship are able to access more jobs, achieve economic mobility, and improve the livelihood of their families. However, the complexity of the process and the $680 in filing fees has been a barrier for those eligible, particularly low-income families.

Join our campaign on Twitter with #MiamiDadeC4C and #Cities4Citizenship and access resources online at CitiesforCitizenship.org.

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About The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC)
Florida Immigrant Coalition is a statewide coalition of more than 62 member organizations and over 100 allied organizations, founded in 1998 and incorporated in 2004. FLIC is led by its membership – grassroots and community organizations, farmworkers, youth, advocates, lawyers, unions and others. FLIC’s mission is to grow the connection, capacity, and consciousness of our immigrant families, organizations, and communities. FLIC envisions a new Florida based on inclusion and equality, without racism and exclusion, where immigrants can live and love without fear.

About Citi
Citi, the leading global bank has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Groups work to mobilize immigrant, low-income voters

Kathleen McGrory, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 2:23pm

The Florida Immigrant Coalition is coordinating an effort to mobilize immigrant and low-income voters in advance of the Nov. 4 election.

Last week, volunteers with the Haitian Women of Miami knocked on more than 5,000 doors in Miami’s Little Haiti, Miami Shores, North Miami and North Miami Beach neighborhoods. They both encouraged residents to vote on Election Day and collected absentee ballot requests.

“Our communities, black and latino, are not minorities any more, and we want to make sure our votes are felt as a growing new majority and a decisive voice this election,” said Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Haitian Women of Miami.

Two additional groups — the Young American Dreamers and WeCount! — have knocked on doors in Homestead, Florida City, Lakeland and Auburndale. They estimate they’ve visited at least 20,000 homes.

“Our canvassers are knocking on doors to encourage black and latino voters in Polk [County] to make their voices heard,” said Daniel Barajas, of the Young American Dreamers. “Our communities have been ignored for decades, but through our efforts we will show them that our votes count and that they matter.”

Read more here.

Florida immigration advocates hoping for reversal of judge’s ban on Obama’s executive orders

Jaime Casiano received word Tuesday from a former colleague that a federal judge suspended President Barack Obama’s actions to grant temporary relief to millions of immigrants who lack documents.

The news came as a shock. Casiano, who lives in Naples and has two children, 5 and 8, who are American citizens, thinks he would qualify for one of the president’s programs. He was hoping to get a work permit and a driver’s license to work and drive legally.

“One’s hopes vanish,” he said. “You have more doubts.”

Read more here.