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Crosscurrents logo 2021

New campaign helps immigrants become US citizens

New Americans Campaign
New citizens at citizenship ceremony

Last February, the federal government announced a new form to apply for citizenship -- one that is twice as long and more complex than the previous one. The price to apply for citizenship, or naturalization, has gone up from $200 in 2000, to $680 today. That means a family of four will have to pay over $2,700 to apply. And it's one reason so many eligible immigrants are putting off citizenship.

The New Americans Campaign is trying to change that. It's a new partnership between several immigration organizations nationwide to encourage Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) to apply for citizenship sooner rather than later. KALW's Hana Baba spoke with New Americans Campaign Project Director Melissa Rodgers to find out more.

RODGERS: We have helped over 100,000 people apply for citizenship. By helping people with fee waivers, we've saved communities over $89 million. I think it's really important for people who are living in this country to have the right to fully belong, and that's what citizenship gives you. It's a right of belonging that can't be taken away.

Click player above to hear full interview.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.