Amalgamated Bank, the largest majority union-owned bank in the United States, is teaming up with We Are One New Jersey to make it easier for aspiring Americans to apply for U.S. citizenship. The new program will offer short-term, low-interest loans to legal U.S. residents who are unable to afford the $680 citizenship application fee. Borrowers will be offered below market interest rates and will have six months to repay the loans. We Are One New Jersey will offer the loan applications at their centers in Hudson and Union counties in May.
Over the years, the labor movement and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka have fought side by side with the grassroots immigrant rights movement to stop unnecessary and unjust deportations and for a policy that protects workers' rights, keeps families together and provides a road map to citizenship for aspiring Americans. We stood strong with immigrant workers in the face of unprecedented deportations, while also working for a comprehensive solution. Here are some key highlights from the AFL-CIO Now blog and other press clips over the past several years where America's working families, and their unions, have stood with aspiring citizens and families.
The AFL-CIO’s national campaign to build stronger communities by empowering eligible immigrants to become citizens and fully engage in the democratic process has become a reality in New Jersey, with the opening of the state’s first labor-led naturalization and community center.
Emilio Garcia began working for U.S. Fibers in South Carolina in April 2010 as a maintenance worker. He worked 12-hour shifts with only a 30-minute lunch break because his wife and children depend on him. Garcia said that from the very beginning he and other workers were humiliated by management. Conditions were so bad that he and other workers decided to organize themselves with the assistance of the United Steelworkers (USW). But management wasn't happy with Garcia's organizing efforts, and they slowly began cutting his hours before firing him in July of last year. Garcia told his story to an audience today at a panel discussion hosted by the AFL-CIO.
This weekend, 58 legal residents took the next step in becoming American citizens with the help of volunteers at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. A total of 49 DREAMers, who came to the United States as children, also attended to receive help filling out paperwork for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy and renewals under the program.