Texas AFL-CIO Launches Citizenship Campaign

The Texas AFL-CIO, along with affiliates and allied organizations, is proud to announce the Texas AFL-CIO Citizenship Campaign, aimed at helping eligible permanent residents with their naturalization application and the important rights that follow. 

Labor organizations in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi are joining Austin in offering free union-led informational sessions, trainings and clinics in conjunction with our legal counsel partners, to help union members and their families to apply to become U.S. Citizens. Eligible applicants will learn about the requirements, process and USCIS cost. In addition, applicants will receive assistance from immigration attorneys and supervised volunteers in completing their application. 

“Approximately 1.1 million Texans – many of them working people – are eligible to apply for citizenship today,” said Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay, who is overseeing the state federation’s participation. “That’s the largest such number in the U.S.” 

“Today marks the 231stanniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, a governing document that is at the heart of our ideals as a nation. The day is known as both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, connecting government to the rights and duties of citizenship.” 

“The Citizenship Campaign is a key part of our ‘Fair Shot’ agenda that also includes comprehensive immigration reform.”                                                                                                                                              

“Naturalization allows people to vote, apply for federal jobs, receive full legal protections, earn higher wages and make investments that help make the economy stronger for all of us. By the same token, archaic rules and other obstacles that hold residents who would like to become citizens in limbo tend to harm communities by holding back the full power of their voices. When eligible residents can take full advantage of citizenship status, working people do better and Texas benefits.” 

“The application process can be daunting,” Garibay said. “The $725 fee that most applicants pay places a premium on getting the form filled out correctly the first time.”

“We want to thank the Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, Dallas AFL-CIO, San Antonio Central Labor Council, Coastal Bend Area Labor Federation and the Texas AFT for agreeing to lead expansion of the Citizenship Campaign to their cities. The opportunities abound: Houston has some 300,000 eligible residents; Dallas/Fort Worth, about 248,000; San Antonio, 63,000; Corpus Christi, 8,300 and Austin, 57,000.”

Allied organizations such as Equal Justice Center, Casa Marianella and the Mexican Consulate in Austin bring their expertise and volunteer energy to the drives.

“This is a long-term project with broad goals, not something that aims at a single issue or specific election,” Garibay said. “The benefits of Citizenship Drives will be lasting. We are engaging unions, building strong bonds with community activists, bringing informed voices into the political dialogue and engaging in solidarity with working people who too often do not benefit from the labor rights our movement has achieved.”

“Join us. We look forward to building a Citizenship Campaign that elevates Texas.”

See the Texas AFL-CIO Citizenship Campaign website: www.texaslaborcitizenship.org