By Steve Mullin
Catholic Charities of the East Bay, the largest provider of immigration legal services in the East Bay, will provide free citizenship services at Hayward City Hall on June 13. In partnership with the East Bay Naturalization Collaborative and the City of Hayward, Catholic Charities is organizing a citizenship application workshop to provide citizenship services to those who might otherwise be unable to afford an attorney.
“We want to help as many members of our community become citizens as we possibly can on June 13,” said Christopher Martinez, director of legal services at Catholic Charities and the logistics coordinator for the workshop. “Many in the immigrant community who are eligible for immigration relief simply cannot afford access to accredited counsel, and workshops like these help address that issue.”
Those attending the event can receive free assistance with:
- A step-by-step review of the naturalization process.
- An assessment of their ability to naturalize.
- Application preparation & document packaging, if eligible to naturalize.
- Application review by an immigration attorney or qualified legal representative.
“We want to thank Mayor Barbara Halliday and members of the city council for their leadership, and David Korth, Neighborhood Services Manager, who helped organize the event.” Said Mr. Martinez. “By providing free citizenship services at a venue like Hayward City Hall, we are responding to our church and government leaders in ‘welcoming the stranger’.”
There is a huge need in south Alameda County for these types of services. “People come to us from San Leandro, Union City, Newark, Fremont and beyond- and it’s growing,” explained Mr. Martinez. “Events like this allow us to provide services where the need is greatest.”
Pulling off an event like this is no small feat. Volunteers are a crucial part of a successful event. Anyone interested in volunteering can learn more at the East Bay Naturalization Collaborative website.
The Catholic Church is the largest provider of social services throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Catholic Charities, founded in 1935, is the visible face of the Diocese of Oakland in that work, and is a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognized organization with licensed attorneys and BIA-accredited representatives on staff. For more information on the event, or to register, visit www.cceb.org.