Presentation of the Program for Support to Immigrants in the United States to obtain the Citizenship

In the United States, there are 3.4 million Mexicans who are eligible for US citizenship; however, very few initiate the process.

The benefits of obtaining citizenship in the United States are many, including the following:

  • Become a citizen provides stability by avoiding deportation, ensuring families’ unity.
  • It allows access to better jobs and better salaries.
  • It ensures access to education for the children and the possibility of obtaining scholarships.
  • Citizenship helps guaranteeing the respect for human rights.

The lack of information creates a perception that the citizenship process is inaccessible to the majority of eligible immigrants. Some reasons why they do not seek citizenship are: not knowing English, not having money, not knowing its advantages, and being afraid of losing Mexican citizenship.

In an effort to support Mexicans living in the United States, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) and the Carlos Slim Foundation (CSF) collaborate to offer to immigrants the tools and support necessary to obtain their citizenship. This partnership is central in the ‘Program for Support Immigrants in the United States’.

On September 13, Enrique Graue Wiechers, Rector of the UNAM; Raúl González Pérez, President of the National Human Rights Commission; and Héctor Slim Seade of Carlos Slim Foundation met in San Antonio, Texas, with the directors of the UNAM offices located in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Seattle and Tucson. The event was also attended by Reyna Torres, consul of Mexico in San Antonio; and representatives of Latino organizations in the United States, such as Carmen Cornejo, President of the Board of Chicanos for the Cause, with whom CSF has also established a collaboration agreement to finance the cost to carry out the process to obtain citizenship for eligible Mexican immigrants to the US. In a first stage, this support will begin in Arizona.

At the UNAM offices, the program provides free face-to-face training and support for immigrants, using the tools of the Acceso Latino, a platform developed by Carlos Slim Foundation. Specifically, accesolatino.org has the tool “Ciudadanízate” (or get your citizenship), a course made by video lessons that prepares immigrants to pass their US Citizenship Test.

Acceso Latino also provides information developed by the CNDH, entitled “The Plan is to have a plan”, which objective is to help to know how to protect their families, property, and how to get a lawyer in case they need it.

In a complementary way, through Acceso Latino you have relevant information on topics such as:

  • Free legal aid with pro-bono lawyers.
  • Psychological counseling via a phone and whatsapp messages.
  • Information on how to obtain loans to pay for the citizenship process.

In addition to the work that is carried out face-to-face at the five UNAM offices, anyone interested can use the tools offered at www.accesolatino.org.