Home / Media / ePiñata / August 31, 2016

NaturalizeNY Sets Example for the Nation

Our nation’s immigration system is complex, daunting, and, increasingly, ineffective. It is difficult to navigate and often overwhelmingly so. Worse still, our federal government’s habitual inaction on needed reforms has left millions of families in limbo.

While we ultimately need Congressional action to implement comprehensive immigration reform, there are concrete actions that state leaders can take to create ease and clarity for those immigrants on the path to citizenship. New York State’s NaturalizeNY initiative is a model program that should serve as the standard for other states.

NaturalizeNY was launched this summer to assist eligible immigrants living in New York State to become U.S. citizens. In addition to free services including eligibility screenings, application assistance and exam preparation, NaturalizeNY is conducting a lottery for 2,000 naturalization application fee vouchers for low-income individuals who cannot afford the steep price of the citizenship application.

Recently, the Hispanic Federation partnered with Telemundo 47 over the course of a short week to get the word out to Latino New Yorkers about this important opportunity, and more than 5,000 individuals called our hotline to register for NaturalizeNY. That’s 5,000 Latinos who will potentially become citizens and active voters as a result of this effort!

“Hispanic Federation applauds Governor Cuomo, Secretary of State Rossana Rosado and the Office for New Americans for unveiling NaturalizeNY. The program will be of immense benefit to New York’s immigrant communities. High costs should not be a barrier to naturalization. Hispanic Federation's Office of New Americans Opportunity Centers will continue to serve as resource hubs for immigrants throughout the state, and we welcome the expansion of services offered within these centers,” said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation.

For more information on NaturalizeNY or to register, visit