If half of the number of eligible immigrants were granted citizenship, it would bring a total benefit of up to almost $10 billion to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to the findings of a new report
The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) at USC Dornsife released the report, which coincides with the launch of a national immigrant naturalization effort called Cities for Citizenship
The initiative, aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents, is chaired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
In addition to receiving funding from the CPD and NPNA, CitiGroup, a founding corporate partner, is dedicating $1.1 million to the initiative.
“Cities and their mayors are modeling progressive leadership to address national issues where the federal government has failed,” said Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy
, in a press release announcing the report's findings.
“Cutting through the administrative and financial red tape of the naturalization process is an outgrowth of that leadership and will benefit millions of American families who have been excluded from the privileges of citizenship,” she said.
In June, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, issued a statement in support of President Barack Obama willingness to pursue immigration reform through executive action.
The New York metro area leads the nation in the rate of naturalizations, which increased approximately 37 percent in 2013 compared with 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal
In the Los Angeles metro area, naturalizations rose by 12 percent between 2011 and 2013, and in the Chicago metro area, the number of naturalizations have largely remained the same.
Individually, the three Democratic mayors have been active lobbying for immigration reform and have moved to provide greater access to city services to immigrants, including those who have entered the country illegally.
On Tuesday, New York announced it would begin sending representatives to federal immigration court to assist undocumented minors facing deportation hearings, which represents the first time the city has provided direct services at immigration court, noted a press release from de Blasio's office
Chicago also has expanded services to undocumented immigrants.
Mayor Emanuel announced the city would provide more housing for undocumented Central American children apprehended along the southern border, reports The Chicago Tribune.
By embracing the initiative, Emanuel can boost his standing with the city's Hispanic voters before February 2015 municipal election, the paper said.
Emanuel has seen his approval among Hispanic voters decline from 52 percent in 2013 to just 40 percent in an August Tribune survey.
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