Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City are banding together in an attempt to get legal immigrants U.S. citizenship. According to the Chicago Tribune, the initiative is called Cities for Citizenship and will allow the cities to expand their naturalization programs and give U.S. citizenship through a $1.1 million contribution from Citigroup.
The Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans will coordinate the joint effort. The source stated that the goal of the initiative is to encourage cities across the U.S. to invest more in helping immigrants become U.S. citizens.
Cities for Citizenship was announced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. The trio said that through naturalization, new citizens will have access to better jobs and academic scholarships. In addition to the benefits seen by the immigrants themselves, the cities will also see an economic boost.
According to The Wall Street Journal, giving U.S. citizenship to immigrants could add between $1.8 billion and $4.1 billion to New York City’s economy, between $1 billion and $1.6 billion to Chicago’s, and between $1.6 billion and $2.8 billion to Los Angeles’.
“Citizenship is a powerful poverty-fighting tool because it brings huge economic benefits to families and to communities,” de Blasio said in a joint press release issued by the three mayors. “More than that, it helps keep families together.”
Emanuel said his goal is to make Chicago the most immigrant-friendly city in the U.S. In the Windy City, nearly half of all new businesses are started by immigrants, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Garcetti added that immigrants play a major role in the nation’s economy and said it was time to encourage their integration into U.S. culture without letting political issues get in the way.