DearColleague.us

Letter

 

From: The Honorable Marc A. Veasey
Sent By:
paloma.perez@mail.house.gov

Bill: H.R. 6329
Date: 11/30/2016

ENCOURAGE MORE ELIGIBLE IMMIGRANTS TO SEEK U.S. CITIZENSHIP

Current cosponsor(s): Reps. Juan Vargas, Zoe Lofgren, and John Conyers

Dear Colleague,

The benefits of U.S. citizenship are lucrative for both immigrants and the greater American society. For individuals, citizenship means having the right to vote, the freedom to travel, and the ability to be fully integrated into the country they call home.
Additionally, naturalization affords economic benefits for communities where immigrants live as their earnings typically rise by 8 to 11 percent after completing naturalization. Naturalized immigrants are also more likely to open their own businesses, contributing
even further to America’s prosperity.

Yet despite these benefits, an overwhelming majority of legal permanent residents (LPRs) do not follow through with the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. The most recent figures find that
5.6 million immigrants have naturalized. An even larger population opted to not adjust their status with
5.8 million eligible LPRs choosing not to apply for citizenship. For many LPRs, the barriers to U.S. citizenship appear daunting. Legal permanent residents must demonstrate English language proficiency, knowledge of U.S. history and government,
pass a criminal background check, and pay for the expensive application and biometric tests. According to a 2012 Pew Hispanic survey, 45% of Latino legal permanent residents (LPR) cited personal barriers such as lack of English proficiency as their reason
for keeping their legal status while 26% cited administrative obstacles like the cost of naturalization.

The Promise of Citizenship Act will provide much-needed tax relief for newly naturalized citizens who make the decision to adjust their status from legal permanent residency. A new American would qualify for a $500 refundable tax
credit for the qualifying costs associated with seeking citizenship including:

  • English-as-a-Second Languages course related costs such as payment for a class or tutoring
  • Costs or fees related to the preparation for the civics test required for naturalization
  • Payments for transportation or childcare incurred while preparing for the ESL or civics test courses
  • Legal fees related to filing the N-400 or interview preparation

The tax credit aims to minimize some of the financial barriers both directly and indirectly associated with pursuing U.S. citizenship.

America is a nation of immigrants and as elected officials we should do our best to ensure that the fruits of its labor can be shared with all those who wish to work hard and call it home. Join me in making U.S. citizenship an attainable goal for all hardworking
immigrants who already actively contribute to our country. For more information or to serve as a cosponsor of the
Promise of Citizenship Act, please contact Paloma Perez,

paloma.perez@mail.house.gov
, with Congressman Marc Veasey’s office.

 

Sincerely,

Marc Veasey

Member of Congress