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Hartford library receives $450K from feds to expand immigration services

Hartford Public Library downtown location in Hartford, Connecticut.
Ayannah Brown
Connecticut Public
Hartford Public Library downtown location in Hartford, Connecticut.

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A program in Connecticut helping immigrants become U.S. citizens will serve an additional 200 people, thanks to new funding.

Hartford Public Library’s The American Place was recently awarded $450,000 by the federal government to further aid immigrants navigating the citizenship process.

“With these new and expanded funds, we expect to promote citizenship more widely across the region,” said Jennifer Torres, manager of The American Place at Hartford Public Library.

Many eligible immigrants encounter issues when applying for citizenship because of a lack of clear information or incorrect information, Torres said.

People with low incomes often have citizenship fees waived, but many immigrants don’t realize that, Torres said. English language requirements can also be set aside for some immigrants over the age of 50.

The American Place offers a variety of legal and educational services, including an English Learner Success program it sponsors to help immigrant and refugee teens learn English and adjust to their new environments.

The program also offers green card services and job training opportunities.

Hartford Public Library President and CEO Bridget Quinn says the work of The American Place is inspiring.

“When we have the naturalization ceremonies here at the library – to see people's faces and families when they become new citizens is one of the most incredible things I have done in my career,” Quinn said.

The federal award comes from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

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