The county executive speaks to the press following this morning’s announcement. Photo by Mike Mowery.

County Executive Isiah Leggett was on Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring Tuesday morning to help launch an initiative to promote and assist eligible residents in the county to become U.S. citizens. 

The county has joined Cities for Citizenship and the “Naturalize Now! Summer Citizenship Campaign,” a coordinated naturalization event and communications outreach effort to encourage 1,000,000 eligible community members to naturalize this year, according to a county press release.

“We all know the great benefits and privilege of being citizens of this great nation,” said Leggett in his remarks. “Also, recent studies by the University of Southern California suggests that becoming a citizen can increase earnings 8-11 percent.

“Currently we have more than 50,000 county residents from all over the world that are eligible to become citizens,” he continued. The breakdown is: Latin America, 44 percent; Asia, 29 percent; Africa, 15 percent, Europe, 10 percent; and other, 2 percent.

According to the group’s website, “Cities for Citizenship is a national initiative aimed at increasing citizenship among eligible U.S. permanent residents and encouraging cities across the country to invest in citizenship programs.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcett are the organization’s chairs. The group also receives support from the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans. Citi Community Development is the Founding Corporate Partner, the site says.

The group notes that there are 8.8 million legal permanent residents in America who are eligible for citizenship.

Mike Diegel

Co-Founder/Editor at Source of the Spring
Mike Diegel, a founding member of Source of the Spring, is a Silver Spring advocate who has been appointed by the county executive to several committees and task forces. He currently is a member of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee. His background is in journalism and he earned a bachelor of arts in communications from McDaniel College. He is self-employed as a communications consultant and is an active volunteer with Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue. He has lived for more than 20 years in Northwood/Four Corners with his wife Trish and multiple Great Pyrenees dogs. He is better known around Silver Spring as the Guy with the Big White Dogs.
County joins national citizenship initiative