CUNY and the NY Daily News help immigrants find answers to their questions about
becoming American Citizens on April 25, 2011 to April 29, 2011.

Do you know any immigrants?  Maybe a relative, a friend, a co worker, and the man you buy your coffee and bagel from in the morning on the way to school or work?  Of course you do! Immigration is one of the most pressing contemporary issues in the United States. The foreign-born now represent about 13 percent of the population. Together with their American-born children, this group constitutes a quarter of the United States — more than 65 million people. But did you know how difficult immigration law is to navigate without the assistance of a qualified, licensed, and accredited lawyers or representatives to assist and advocate for immigrants?  It is extremely difficult.  Immigration law is complex and changes constantly based on politics, economics, population, etc.

Since 2004, the annual CUNY/ Daily News Citizenship Now! Call-In has provided nearly 85,000 callers with free, confidential information on immigration issues ranging from U.S. citizenship to residency to family petitions. Hundreds of volunteers participate in this event each year, many of them trained by CUNY Citizenship Now!

For one week from April 25, 2011 to April 29, 2011, we open the phones from 9am to 7pm to take calls from anyone seeking immigration information or resources.  Last year, close to 400 volunteers assisted 14,101 callers in 48 different languages. WOW! FOR FREE!

When I volunteered, it was one of the most fulfilling things I have done to date in my fourteen years working with immigrants.  I remember standing in a room full of people who were volunteering their time to answer individual caller’s questions and thinking what an amazing experience, people are calling in from all over, with all different types of immigration questions, and all these people are here solely to help them.  And all of this is totally free, the volunteers are not being paid, the callers do not have to pay.  Wow! I spoke with so many people and provided advice from how to find immigration forms, to who was eligible for a certain immigration benefit, to seeking formal more in depth advice to assist the individual.  If you are interested in helping the immigrant community or if you are an immigrant who needs assistance and you do not know who to turn to, this is the event for you!

If you are interested in volunteering, please register to volunteer at the 2011 CUNY/ Daily News Citizenship Now! Call-in at http://www.cuny.edu/about/resources/citizenship/call-in/2011CallInVolunteers.html.  The event will be held at the NY Daily News Headquarters from Monday, April 25th until Friday, April 29th.  We look forward to seeing you there!

If you are an interested caller, volunteers will be standing by, ready to provide those interested in obtaining U.S. citizenship with free, confidential information.  Volunteers can also refer you to free and low cost immigration services in your area and provide information about English and civics classes.  All volunteers are under the supervision of Citizenship Now! staff attorneys, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) attorneys, and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representatives. Check the link on April 25th for the numbers to dial! We look forward to helping you get the information that you and your family need.  http://www.cuny.edu/about/resources/citizenship/call-in/InfoForCallers.html.

Wow, did I mention it was free?

Patricia Wonder is an Instructor at CUNY School of Professional Studies, and a Partner at Johnson Wonder PLLC, http://www.johnsonwonder.com.  She manages and moderates the monthly webinar series titled “Selected Issues on Citizenship and Immigration Law” for CUNY Citizenship Now!  She has been working in the immigration field for more than fourteen years. She is passionate about advocating for immigrant rights and she loves valuable advice that is free.

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