60 residents take step toward US citizenship

Sixty permanent residents from the Caribbean as well as Central and South America took the first steps to become U.S. citizens.

Sixty permanent residents from the Caribbean as well as Central and South America took the first steps to become U.S. citizens. (4/2/16)

BROOKLYN - Sixty permanent residents from the Caribbean as well as Central and South America attended a workshop in Downtown Brooklyn Saturday to file their papers to become U.S. citizens.

Attorneys from Catholic Migration Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest teamed up to assist the group pro bono.

Both organizations say the paperwork and financial cost of becoming a citizen can be overwhelming for some people.

"It's not an easy process, it takes a long time, around four to six months," said Zach Schultz, of Catholic Migration Services. "It's an application that's 21 pages with lots of very technical, detailed questions. The application fee is $680, so it can be very cost prohibitive."

Saturday's filing would allow those who become U.S. citizens to vote in the election this November.

Organizations say they plan to hold three more sessions sometime this year.

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