On Saturday, June 28th, Local 400 joined other labor and immigration groups and community organizers such as DC Labor and Working America at the AFL-CIO’s international headquarters in Washington, D.C. to put on a workshop that assisted green card-holders in applying for citizenship.
The workshop was designed for workers who are legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship as well as young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as kids who want to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA. Attendees were given information on how to apply and volunteers and lawyers assisted them as they filled out the correct paperwork.
The event was put on as part of an ongoing effort to move immigration reform forward–legislation for which has been stalled in the House ever since passing in the Senate over a year ago.
Some green card holders don’t apply for citizenship when they become eligible, and may eventually face deportation. But for many, becoming a citizen means that they can more actively participate in their communities, their union, and their democracy. Citizenship enables immigrants to have a stronger voice, whether its through voting, speaking out for workplace rights, or being able to stand up for a living wage.
The AFL-CIO’s executive vice president Tefere Gebre, a naturalized citizen himself, said the group hopes to educate immigrants about the benefits of being citizens.