PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – As President Biden pursues immigration reform, there are opportunities here in Arizona for green-card holders to begin the process of applying for citizenship. But for many permanent residents in Arizona, becoming a citizen can sound overwhelming.
"A lot of them have questions about if they're even eligible," says Phoenix immigration attorney Rosetta Thompson. "So some of the questions are, I had a DUI, can I still apply?"
In regards to the DUI scenario, it's on a case-by-case basis. The American Immigration Lawyers Association and Promise Arizona are helping to provide answers to similar types of questions. So they put on a citizenship application workshop to help some of the millions in Arizona that are eligible to become citizens.
"I think what we learned from this last year, not just the pandemic and the election, is that be a citizen is very, very important," says Promise Arizona Executive Director Petra Falcon. Because if you didn't have all your paperwork in order, you weren't going to get any relief from the government."
All in all, Promise Arizona estimates that 50 people met with an attorney at this event either virtually or in-person (much of the event was virtual due to the pandemic). But it wasn't just green-card holders. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and applicants also got some much-needed legal aid.
Fatima Arreola recently graduated from South Mountain Community College. A DACA recipient, she didn't expect much going into the renewal process.
"To be honest, I was hoping it would be pretty soon," says Arreola. "But I didn't expect it to be this year in the middle of a pandemic as well."
But by processing the necessary documents and fees, Fatima and many others now have a chance to continue working and living in this country.
"All of a sudden, we're opening this door to have a conversation about their future," says Falcon. "So we went around and talked about what this day meant. It was about hope, and hope for community members that have not had that door opened for them."
Promise Arizona plans on hosting additional citizenship application workshops later this year. If you are looking for any additional information regarding the process of applying for citizenship, you can visit their website.