In 2016, the CARECEN citizenship program served 536 different clients from a diverse variety of backgrounds. In 2016, our program:
- conducted 454 naturalization eligibility screenings
- filed 239 applications for citizenship (Form N-400)
- registered 118 new voters
- And conducted outreach presentations and citizenship information sessions all over the DMV!
CARECEN served clients from all throughout the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region.
Clients were most heavily concentrated in Wards 1 and 4 of D.C., but came from all areas of the District too.
While the majority of the clients in the citizenship program came from the District of Columbia, many came from the neighboring counties of Virginia and Maryland as well.
In 2016, the citizenship program worked with clients from many different walks of life, socioeconomic backgrounds, and national origins.
A great majority immigrated to the United States from Latin American countries, with the most represented nation being El Salvador ( 57%). A few clients, however, immigrated from other countries throughout Africa and Europe.
Their ages ranged anywhere from 18-87, with the majority of clients falling between 50-70 years of age and the median being 52.
Those in the citizenship program had a diverse range of educational levels, between anywhere from no formal schooling (11%) to full college degrees (8%).
Out of all of our clients, 60% of them were female
After determining their citizenship eligibility, CARECEN held citizenship classes to prepare students for their naturalization interviews at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ offices.
In those classes, 35 CARECEN volunteer teachers taught 317 different students, while tutoring 19 of them individually. This totaled 1,248 hours of citizenship class instruction.
Our volunteers were crucial to the success of our program. Over 300 volunteers contributed over 4,000 hours of service through tutoring, teaching, conversation practice, mock interviews, and voter workshops.
Student Success Story — Leopoldina:
At 77 years old, Leopoldina discovered that she didn’t qualify for a language exemption because she had only been in the United States for six years. At first, she was desperate and thought that she would never be able to become a citizen. But then, Leopoldina thought of her undocumented son. “I did all this effort at my age for him”, she said.
Leopoldina studied and studied. “It was not easy,” she said. “To learn a language at my age, things just don’t sink in like they used to. But I studied…every day I studied. I never got tired of studying…well, my hand did get a little tired, but it was worth it, because now I have a certificate that says I am a US citizen!”
The day of her interview, Leopoldina was nervous that she nearly made herself sick. “The time right before the interview is the most difficult, with the fear and doubt in yourself. But confidence is important, because once I was in the interview, I felt like it was easy because of everything I learned.”
In addition to classes, our program includes field trips to sites relevant to the citizenship exam. CARECEN partners with the National Parks Service to offer a customized Monument Tour experience for our classes.
To further expand our reach, last year CARECEN partnered with the D.C. Public Library and Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School to host citizenship information sessions and workshops. We also worked with the D.C. Board of Elections to engage in voter registration outreach in our communities, and received funding from USCIS and the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs.
Members of the American University and Georgetown University communities worked with CARECEN to promote citizenship and service learning among their students and staff.
When it was finally time for their naturalization interviews for United States citizenship, CARECEN helped interpret for their clients 52 times during their official interviews.
“I want to thank CARECEN for the help they gave me to be able to take this big step to becoming a citizen of this country, which for me is a blessing from God. It has so many benefits for you, for your family, and for this country. Si se puede!” –Juana Ordoñez (immigrated from El Salvador)
In 2016, the CARECEN citizenship program helped 155 clients become new United States citizens!
Which equates to a 97.8% interview pass rate!
In 2017, we plan to do even more. With your help, we can reach even more potential new citizens!