WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Voto Latino will help promote and test the next generation online platform from Citizenshipworks, which is designed to help legal permanent residents negotiate the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens.
Citizenshipworks was developed by Pro Bono Net and Immigration Advocates Network, leaders in the innovative use of technology to increase access to legal assistance and reduce language, geographic and economic barriers for low- and moderate-income immigrant communities.
The new version of the Citizenshipworks.org platform, which includes a mobile app, was developed with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and other funders supporting the New Americans Campaign. It will allow legal permanent residents to verify their eligibility and complete their naturalization forms on their own or, if needed, connect to nonprofit legal providers in their area.
This next generation platform will be promoted through a new partnership with Voto Latino, a non-partisan non-profit that engages Latinos through technology and media in order to drive civic engagement. Initially, outreach and testing will focus on the New York area, where supporting legal services are available, but the goal is to release the mobile app nationally as a stand-alone product by midyear.
"Voto Latino provides Latino Millennials the tools and information they need to navigate America for themselves - this includes educating legal permanent residents in the citizenship process," said Kumar. "We're excited to launch this new program with Pro Bono Net and Immigration Advocates Network. By using their expertise, we hope to make the citizenship process clearer and attainable for so many aspiring Americans," said Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino.
"Research shows that large numbers of young people who are eligible to naturalize are not taking the final step to become U.S. citizens. We are excited by the opportunity to partner with Voto Latino to develop effective digital strategies to reach young immigrants and their families, and help them take advantage of the benefits of citizenship, including the right to vote," said Mark O'Brien, co-founder and executive director of Pro Bono Net.
"Knight Foundation's mission is to promote informed and engaged communities," said Benjamin de la Peña, director of community and national strategy for Knight Foundation. "Naturalization gives legal permanent residents the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, allowing them to become fully engaged in their communities."
Organizations will be able to use the Citizenshipworks platform to increase outreach and services in ways never before possible. Other features include optional legal review by trusted non-profit service providers and information on the application process in English and Spanish, including a mobile app with practice tests for the citizenship interview.
About the New Americans Campaign
The New Americans Campaign is an innovative and unprecedented effort that brings together a coalition of funders, leading national immigration and service organizations, and several dozen local service providers across 12 different cities to help aspiring Americans reach their dream of citizenship. To learn more about the New Americans Campaign, please visit www.newamericanscampaign.org and follow the conversation at #NewAmericans.
About Voto Latino
Voto Latino is a nonpartisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. United by the belief that Latino issues are American issues and American issues are Latino issues, Voto Latino is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change. For more information, visit www.votolatino.org.
About Immigration Advocates Network
Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a collaborative effort of leading immigrants' rights organizations designed to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. IAN promotes more effective and efficient communication and collaboration among immigration advocates and organizations by providing free, easily accessible and comprehensive online resources and tools. IAN's partners include the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, American Bar Association Commission on Immigration, American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, ASISTA, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Pro Bono Net, and the Advocates for Human Rights. For more information, visit www.immigrationadvocates.org.
About Pro Bono Net
Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches the underserved. Comprehensive programs including www.probono.net, www.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org, enable legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increase volunteer participation, and empower the public with resources and self-help tools to improve their lives.
SOURCE Voto Latino