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Achieving Citizenship

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Many families seek assistance from Catholic Charities using a variety of programs
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Achieving Citizenship
"Ultimately, our goal is to help each individual achieve citizenship and be recognized by the country they already call home."
Annie Allen, Director of the Immigration Assistance Program

In 2008, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada began assisting a husband and wife with their immigration legal needs. They first obtained their lawful permanent resident status, and then returned to our office nearly nine years later (2017) to apply for naturalization. In just one year, the wife became a citizen, but her husband had difficulties with the exam. We helped him renew his green card and file again for naturalization. He studied hard and was able to pass the exam. On August 20, 2019, he attended his Oath Ceremony in Sacramento, with nearly 600 other new citizens, representing 74 different countries. They mailed us a note with their final payment: “Muchas gracias por ayudarnos. Dios los bendiga siempre.” Or, “Thank you so much for assisting us. May God always bless you.”

These are the success stories that drive our team to support all members of our community in need. 

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada's (CCNN) Immigration Assistance Program aims to provides high quality, low-cost or pro-bono legal immigration services to foreign-born individuals and their families, seeking to obtain or extend lawful immigration status or citizenship in the United States. The program provides consultations to determine eligibility, as well as legal representation for the naturalization process. It is focused on helping individuals understand immigration law and know their rights under the law. The program is recognized by the Department of Justice and has staff who hold accreditation to represent individuals in legal immigration matters before the Department of Homeland Security.

“We focus on helping those who would otherwise not be able to obtain legal representation,” said Annie Allen, Director of the Immigration Assistance Program. “Ultimately, our goal is to help each individual achieve citizenship and be recognized by the country they already call home.”

The program regularly offers free consultations for naturalization, including 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. on Thursdays, and 9 a.m. the third Monday of every month. Consultations are available at the Immigration Assistance Program’s offices, located at 500 E. 4th St. Reno, NV 89512. For more information, call 775-393-3877 or email immigration@ccsnn.org.

Now, through a partnership with the Adult Basic Education program, Truckee Meadows Community College will offer free citizenship preparation classes on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the course, participants will learn about:

  • Citizenship through the naturalization process
  • The naturalization tests: English and civics
  • The value of citizenship

To register for a class, call 775-829-9044 or visit the TMCC office at Meadowood Center, 5270 Neil Road, Suite 220.

While the program expansion is new, CCNN has been helping local residents with immigration challenges for years. In 2016, we assisted a woman who was trying to renew her green card. She had applied for citizenship in 2014, but had been denied. During the naturalization process, she was told that she never should have obtained her green card and that she might be guilty of fraud. We reviewed her case, and the client, feeling more comfortable with our office, disclosed the extreme abuse she had suffered at the hands of her U.S. citizen spouse. Not only did the abuse nearly end her life, it cost her the status she had fought so hard to obtain. We conducted an investigation and found proof that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had been made aware of the abuse, and that their allegations of fraud were incorrect. We assisted her with her second naturalization application, explaining the error of USCIS’s original decision. Her case was approved and she took her oath to become a U.S. citizen in November 2019.

Every day, CCNN works to help our Northern Nevada friends and neighbors struggling with their immigration status through our Immigration Assistance Program. If you know someone who could use our assistance, please encourage them to visit us at the Immigration Assistance Program office at 500 E. 4th St. in Reno, or by contacting us at 775-393-3877 or immigration@ccsnn.org.

 

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