Promoting Naturalize NY in the Asian Community

Jenifer Rajkumar (Photo from NYS Office of Immigrant Affairs, via Desi Talk)

Next month begins the second round of New York state’s lottery to help applicants for U.S. citizenship to defray their costs, part of the “Naturalize NY” program introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year. The state’s Director of Immigrant Affairs Jenifer Rajkumar spoke with Ela Dutt of Desi Talk about the program and the benefits it can confer – not just to individuals, but to the economy and society at large.

“Naturalize NY was launched last year and has been very successful,” Rajkumar told Desi Talk. “I want to especially make sure that the South Asian community takes advantage of this,” she added, pointing to the 1,500 vouchers which will help meet the fee for acquiring citizenship.

According to Rajkumar, there are approximately 1 million New Yorkers who hold a Green Card or permanent residency and are eligible for citizenship. “We find that if every Green Card eligible person became a citizen, it would be a huge boost to the economy. It would add $823 million to the City’s economy alone because when one immigrant becomes a citizen, it leads to a 9 percent increase in income,” she said, which then affects other aspects such as more taxes for the state etc.

Go to Desi Talk to read more about the program’s impact thus far, and about Rajkumar’s outreach plans within the South Asian community.

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