Delegation Announces $250K for Citizenship, Naturalization Efforts

Oct 2, 2017 Issues: Immigration

U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and U.S. Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced $250,000 for the Rhode Island Citizenship Consortium, a partnership of Progreso Latino, the Diocese of Providence, Genesis Center, Dorcas International Institute of RI, and RI Family Literacy Initiative, to assist permanent residents with the naturalization process.

Rhode Island’s foreign born population is the twelfth highest in the country, and the Consortium assists this population by offering citizenship classes, citizenship workshops, and naturalization application services.  This funding will enable the RI Citizenship Consortium to offer over 1800 hours of citizenship instruction over a two-year period, helping to increase access to citizenship services for the immigrant community. Progreso Latino will serve as fiscal agent for the grant.

“These federal funds will allow Progresso Latino and their partners to offer classes to help prospective citizens assimilate to American civic life,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, who noted that Rhode Island will also receive an estimated $241,728 this year from the U.S. Department of Education for the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education program that is part of the federal Adult Education program he has championed.  “Rhode Island is a welcoming place and I am extremely proud of our immigrant community.  These organizations do important work to make our state a stronger community for all.”

“Rhode Island has a proud history for generations of welcoming immigrants, who have made enormous contributions to our community and our economy,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “This federal funding will expand Progreso Latino’s programs to provide recent immigrants with the skills they need to thrive.”

“Rhode Island’s diverse cultural heritage has been a cornerstone of our social and economic vitality and I’m pleased this grant will enable us to continue that tradition of inclusivity and support for immigrants,” said Langevin. “The Rhode Island Citizenship Consortium partners already do tremendous work in providing assistance throughout the naturalization process, and these funds will allow them to expand services for residents on the final stage of their path to becoming U.S. citizens.”  

“Rhode Island’s immigrant community makes our state more vibrant and prosperous, ” said Cicilline, who advocated to USCIS on behalf of this grant application. “I am glad that Progreso Latino and its partner organizations will have the resources they need to support these important members of our community through the naturalization process.  The economic future of our state depends on our ability to attract talented and creative individuals from around the world to live and work in Rhode Island.” 

Progreso Latino Executive Director Mario Bueno added, “Progreso Latino, Inc. and its RI Citizenship Consortium partners: The Dioceses of Providence, Dorcas International, The Genesis Center, and the Providence Public Library’s RI Family Literacy Initiative; are well positioned and experienced in the area of citizenship preparation.  The Consortium offers a wide array of support services to residents who want to begin their naturalization process.  We are excited and honored to be chosen among so many other worthy organizations nationwide and appreciate the support of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that make these funds available to help prepare people on their pathway to citizenship.  Through our network of organizations we will offer immigration services and citizenship classes at multiple sites.  You can visit us at any of the aforementioned organization websites and at for more information.  We also appreciate the ongoing support of Congressman Cicilline with our citizenship preparation efforts.  U.S. Citizenship is an awesome responsibility and privilege and the RI Citizenship Consortium is here to help.”

Providence Public Library Executive Director Jack Martin continued, “Providence Public Library is thrilled to be a member of the Rhode Island Citizenship Consortium and to assist immigrants in becoming United States Citizens.  As a long-time member, we have witnessed the transformative effect that this important step has in people's lives.  We look forward to assisting many more members of the community in this important process.”

The RI Citizenship Consortium serves urban centers across the state where immigrants primarily live: Providence County and the urban ring including the cities of Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, East Providence, and Cranston. The populations served are low-income Lawful Permanent Residents primarily from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Portugal, Cape Verde, Liberia, and Cambodia.

These federal resources were made available through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as part of the FY2017 Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program.  Through this grant program, 45 organizations will gain resources to build community capacity to support lawful permanent residents in the naturalization process. Grant recipients are located in 26 states and will serve more than 25,000 individuals from countries around the world.