The Office of Citizenship (OoC), within U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is charged with promoting instruction and training on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
USCIS recognizes that naturalization is a culmination of the
civic assimilation of LPRs who were resettled as refugees or granted asylum, however, some of these individuals may experience challenges with aspects of civic, linguistic, economic, cultural, and institutional assimilation when resettling in the United States, which may impact their progress toward full civic assimilation.
The sooner refugees and asylees are able to engage in their communities, the more likely they are to find satisfaction and success in their personal and professional lives; the more likely they are to make positive contributions to their communities and the Nation; and the more likely they are to become naturalized citizens.
It is critical to provide former refugees and asylees with opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to fully assimilate into U. S. society.
The goal of the Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program (RAAP) is to provide extended assimilation services, which build on, but are not intended to replicate, those resettlement services funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, which prioritize early economic self-sufficiency.
The primary focus of the RAAP is to provide individualized programming to lawful permanent residents (LPRs), who entered the United States under the U. S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) or were granted asylum, to attain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship and to foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States.
Lawful permanent residents who entered the United States as Cuban Haitian entrants or on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) are not eligible for services under this program.
This grant strives to promote long term civic assimilation of those LPRs who have identified naturalization as a goal, yet may need additional information and instruction to attain it.
Applicants are required to demonstrate in depth experience with and extensive knowledge of the particular community they propose to serve, and describe how the proposed program design will address the identified assimilation needs of this population.
Applicants are required to propose a program that provides a suite of assimilation services to LPRs who were resettled as refugees or granted asylum that will promote long term civic assimilation.
Through individual client needs assessments, completion of client assimilation plans for each enrolled client, provision of information and guidance on available assimilation services, provision of civics-based literacy and civics-based English language, and citizenship instruction to prepare for naturalization, former refugees and asylees will gain the tools to become successful citizens.
Applications must propose a detailed plan to assess each LPR and develop and monitor the implementation of an individual assimilation plan for those served under the program.
Submission of the proposed assimilation plan template is required as an attachment to this application.
As part of each individual client’s assimilation plan, applicants must make referrals to the following assimilation services based on the LPR’s specific identified needs:
community orientation; referrals and interactions with local government and public institutions; referrals to employment training; and referrals to appropriate sources of information for updating or renewing previously held foreign professional credentials when applicable.
In addition to the proposed assimilation services, the cornerstone of the program design must include civics-based literacy, civics-based English as a Second Language (ESL), citizenship instruction, and free naturalization legal services within the authorized practice of immigration law.
Naturalization legal services cannot be provided to individuals who have not undergone the initial assimilation assessment and have a completed assimilation plan.
The primary applicant or a sub-awardee must directly provide either the citizenship instruction or the naturalization legal services.
Civics-based literacy and civics-based ESL instruction may be provided by the applicant, sub-awardee, or a community based partner.
Other required assimilation services may be provided through systemic and documented referral to other local community service providers with whom the primary applicant has a pre-existing and well established relationship.
OoC may suggest changes to the assimilation proposal after reviewing the applicant’s program design either during the negotiation period or the first quarter of the funding period.
Grant recipients will be required to develop and monitor the implementation of an individual assimilation plan for a minimum of 200 LPRs who have identified naturalization as a goal.
A template for the applicant’s proposed assimilation plan must be submitted as an attachment as part of its proposal.
Furthermore, the goals of the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program address the DHS mission to Enforce and Administer Our Immigration Laws as stated in the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review as the program provides lawful permanent residents instruction on the rights and responsibility of U. S. citizenship and information and support on how to apply for naturalization within the authorized practice of immigration law.