The White House announced a new campaign Thursday to get the 8.8 million legal immigrants in the United States on U.S. citizenship rolls – a message presidential staffers are sending across the nation just in time for voting season.
Specifically, the Obama administration is pressing for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to make it easier for the legals to pass the test, the New York Times reported. The agency is going to provide practice tests via cellphone, as well as hold study and preparatory workshops in key spots around the country.
The fee to take the citizenship tests will remain at $680, but can be paid by credit card, the newspaper said.
Team Obama has reached out to regional immigration groups for assistance with the more than 70 workshops that have been organized, the New York Times said. The administration’s also planned about 200 naturalization events in the next week.
But that’s not all.
The White House is embracing a plan to make immigrants feel welcome, in part by adjusting Justice Department rules so that those who want to help with the citizenship process can get their credentials quicker.
And one more facet of the campaign: the White House has backed a blitz of television promotional spots aimed at enticing immigrants to take the test.
Only those immigrants who’ve been legal permanent residents for a minimum of three years are eligible for the assistance. White House staffers are hoping to offer immigrants what they say is a more positive message than what’s being put forth in the Republican camp, mostly from presidential hopeful Donald Trump who’s promised to deport the 11 million or so illegals currently in the country.
“We want to build off the negative energy,” said Tara Raghuveer, policy and advocacy director for the National Partnership for New Americans, the New York Times reported. “People are hearing the hate and racist xenophobia on the national stage from the presidential candidates. They are angry and this is an opportunity for us to organize.”
The immigrant outreach is not exactly new. As WND previously reported, mayors around the nation have been involved with similar campaigns in recent months, teaming with Obama to turn refugees into new Americans.