DHS Announces Expansion of Citizenship and Integration Grant Program and Open Application Period
On June 27, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the open application period for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. The Program provides funding for citizenship preparation programs in communities nationally. Up to $20 million in grants will be available, which doubles last year’s available funding of $10 million.
The Program will enable organizations to reach out to more communities and ensure that noncitizens on the path to naturalization have greater access to the tools and resources needed for citizenship education. Organizations that prepare immigrants for naturalization and promote civic integration through knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics will have the opportunity to apply for the grant. In addition to the programs that have traditionally funded citizenship and English acquisition classes, the 2022 grants have been expanded to include opportunities for creative and innovative methodologies implemented when preparing immigrants for naturalization. This includes the following:
- Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services: Funding will be allocated to public or nonprofit organizations that offer citizenship instruction in addition to naturalization application services to immigrants. USCIS projects that 43 organizations will receive up to $300,000 each for two years through this opportunity.
- Community and Regional Integration Network Grant: Designed to provide extended integration services with a focus on individualized programming to certain immigrants particularly those who entered the U.S. under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, were granted asylum, or were admitted or entered the United States as a Cuban or Haitian entrant. Services are centered around the attainment of skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship. USCIS expects to award three to six public or nonprofit organizations with experience serving vulnerable populations up to $300,000 each for a period of two years through this grant. Vulnerable populations include:
- Individuals who entered the U.S. as Cuban or Haitian entrants;
- Individuals admitted on a Special Immigrant Visa;
- Victims of human trafficking and criminal activity; and
- Abused spouses, children, and parents under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- Regional Hub Program: The Regional Hub Program will fund regional or statewide citizenship support networks that build capacity among their affiliates or members to provide direct citizenship preparation services to immigrants. Those who apply and are approved will be granted up to $1 million for a period of two years. USCIS expects to award five to ten of the Regional Hub Program grants. With the grant, applicants are expected to serve as a hub for communication and information sharing on citizenship preparation among their affiliates or members within the broader community.
- Innovations in Citizenship Education Program: Innovation grants will be awarded to organizations that have implemented creative approaches in preparing immigrants for naturalization and encouraging the civic, linguistic, and cultural integration of immigrants into their communities. Approximately 25 organizations will receive up to $250,000 each for a period of two years through this grant.
Applications for all four opportunities are due by August 5, 2022, and can be found at www.grants.gov. The USCIS Citizenship and Integration Program has awarded $112 million through 513 grants to immigrant-serving organizations since 2009. These grants have provided citizenship preparation services to more than 300,000 immigrants. Recipients are expected to be announced in September 2022.
If you are interested in applying for your U.S. citizenship, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to setup a consultation to speak with one of our attorneys!