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Posted on Sep 10, 2015

BBCC event helps people navigate citizenship process

Staff report

MOSES LAKE — On Sept. 19, legal permanent residents, or “green card” holders, can get free assistance navigating the U.S. citizenship process during Citizenship Day at Big Bend Community College.
The one-day event will be held in the ATEC Building from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is hosted by the state chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and OneAmerica.
OneAmerica uses Citizenship Day to connect legal permanent residents to the legal services and information they need to pursue U.S. citizenship and become active members of their communities.
Citizenship Days are staffed by volunteer immigration attorneys, paralegals, interpreters and other community members at no cost. Services include citizenship application assistance, legal review of applications, and information about the naturalization process.
“Citizenship is a critical part of the American dream for many immigrant families, but the cost of attorneys and fear of the process stop many eligible people from becoming citizens,” said Sarah Sumadi of OneAmerica.
“The Moses Lake event will have volunteer immigration lawyers, paralegals, and interpreters on hand to help eligible permanent residents fill out citizenship applications (N-400s),” Sumadi said.
Citizenship Day was created in Washington in 2004 by the Washington State Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has been replicated in more than 30 states. Last year Citizenship Days were held in eight cities in Washington and had more than 375 volunteers who served 531 people, according to OneAmerica.
The citizenship filing fee is $680, but low-income applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver. Citizenship Day participants can get free assistance filling out the fee waiver application.
Visit the Washington New Americans website for a list of what to bring to take advantage of the services (www.wanewamericans.org). For questions, call the toll-free, multilingual assistance number at 1-877-926-3924.
Organizers still need local volunteer bilingual Spanish interpreters to interpret for clients with paralegals and attorneys.
If you’re bilingual in Spanish and would like to volunteer, call Katelyn at 206-452-8436 for information on how to sign up. Pre-registration and a brief training is required.

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