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Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Monday event to explain citizenship process

Quincy Valley residents interested in learning how to become a U.S. citizen are invited to an informational meeting on Monday that will explain the citizenship process.
Hosted by the Adult Learning Center of the Heritage Multicultural First Baptist Church, the meeting is a kickoff to upcoming citizenship classes that have been a three-year project of the learning center and Pastor Juan Carlos Magallanes.
In those three years, 177 local people have earned U.S. citizenship, Magallanes said.
The informational meeting is 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Quincy Community Health Center, 1450 1st Ave. S.W. Representatives from the Yakima Field Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will join in the event. Representatives will explain the citizenship process and answer any questions that people may have.
Just starting the citizenship process can be scary for some people, Magallanes said. Some are afraid to come to an informational meeting because they fear they will be deported, he explained.
However, the federal officials are there only to answer any questions; this is an opportunity to get questions answered directly from the Yakima Field Office, which covers all of Central Washington, Magallanes said.
His goal is to inform people seeking U.S. citizenship of the process and what they can expect, said Keith Brown, field office director of the USCIS in Yakima.
“We try to make it as open and transparent as we can so they know what to expect,” Brown said.
Later this month, the church then will host a citizenship class. About 50 people now attend the classes, which are held at various times throughout the year, Magallanes said.
Through the classes, Magallanes’ personal goal is to help people become citizens so they can vote in elections, he said.
The Adult Learning Center also provides English and computer classes throughout the year. Throught its efforts, the church is working toward building a happy community, Magallanes said.
Microsoft recently donated $5,000 to the church to support the citizenship, computer and English classes, he added.
And, new this year, the church also will host a Multicultural Day that aims to bring together people of different cultures.
Multicultural Day will be 5 to 7 p.m. on June 27 at the clinic. The event will include food and live entertainment.
Magallanes said he is unsure how many people the first-time event will attract; however, he is hopeful that Multicultural Days helps build a stronger sense of tolerance for one another in the community.
“Having a good relationship with your neighbors is important,” said Magallanes, a 12-year Quincy resident.
For more information on any of the events or programs, contact the Heritage Multicultural First Baptist Church at 398-4675 or Magallanes at jc@inmlaherencia.org.

 

— By Jill FitzSimmons, editor@qvpr.com

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