An Obama program that offers foreigners free English, history and civics courses as well as naturalization legal services just received another multi-million-dollar infusion from the government. The Obama administration launched the costly initiative, known as “citizenship and assimilation grant program,” in 2009 and dedicated more than $62 million to it. The Trump administration has kept the taxpayer dollars flowing with substantial Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants allocated to leftist groups in chunks of several hundred thousand dollars apiece.
A few days ago, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this year’s allotment, $10 million to dozens of organizations that prepare residents for naturalization and “promote prospective citizens’ assimilation into American civic life.” That brings the total funding for the assimilation program to $92 million, according to government figures. The money has gone to “immigrant-serving organizations” in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Most of this year’s 41 grant recipients received $250,000 though a few got several thousand dollars less. The groups are spread throughout the nation and include nonprofits such as Progreso Latino in Central Falls, Rhode Island ($250,000 grant), Instituto del Progreso Latino ($225,000) in Chicago, Illinois and Women for Afghan Women ($250,000) in Fresh Meadows, New York. “Our country welcomes legal immigrants from all over the world who come to the United States, positively contribute to our society and engage in American civic life,” USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli said in an agency statement. “Immigrants who assimilate, embrace our Constitution, understand our history, and abide by our laws add to the vitality and strength of this great nation. Through this grant program, USCIS continues to support efforts to prepare immigrants to become fully vested U.S. citizens.”
American taxpayers will provide candidates with instruction in U.S. history and government for citizenship test preparation and activities that promote civic and linguistic assimilation. That includes English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction in reading, writing and speaking by specialized teachers. Civic assimilation activities will consist of local trips to sites and landmarks of historical or cultural significance, guest speakers such as local public servants and other activities that promote in-depth understanding of government functions, geography, traditions, symbols and holidays. Naturalization application services will cover the preparation and submission of forms required by the federal government and appearing at naturalization interviews and hearings with applicants. The Trump administration apparently has no intention of cutting the assimilation program because it is a “major part” of USCIS’s “efforts to support effective citizenship preparation services and to provide information on naturalization to immigrants and nonprofit organizations.”
Similar programs, also funded with USCIS grants, were incredibly popular during the Obama years and Judicial Watch monitored them closely. It was part of a broader, government-wide initiative launched by the former president to “strengthen federal immigrant and refugee integration infrastructure.” The mission was to facilitate life in the U.S. for immigrants and refugees by enhancing pathways to naturalization, building welcoming communities and providing “mobile immigration services in underserved communities.” To carry out the mission Obama created a special Task Force on New Americans chaired by his Domestic Policy Director, Cecilia Muñoz, the former vice president of the powerful open borders group National Council of La Raza (recently renamed Unidos US). Millions of taxpayer dollars flowed to the task force’s various enterprises, including multilingual media campaigns promoting immigrant rights. The goal was to “strengthen civic, economic and linguistic integration and to build strong and welcoming communities,” according to a report issued by the task force.
In its final months, the Obama administration doled out $29 million via USCIS grants to register new immigrant voters that likely supported Democrats in the presidential election. Officially it was described as “citizenship integration” aimed at enhancing pathways to naturalization by offering immigrants free citizenship instruction, English, U.S. history and civics courses. The money flowed through two separate USCIS grants, the first for $19 million and a second, just five months later, for $10 million. That grant came in a final push before the presidential election to prepare approximately 25,000 residents from more than 50 countries. More than a dozen states—including California, New York, Florida, Washington and Ohio—with large resident immigrant populations were targeted as well as cities with huge immigrant populations such as Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C.
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