When our 2012 immigration study revealed that Napa County has 9,000 citizenship-eligible Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), aka Green Card holders, but many were not taking the important step towards achieving citizenship due to an absence of a robust legal services infrastructure, we launched the One Napa Valley Initiative (ONVI), a campaign to create new citizens and a stronger community. ONVI is building awareness of the benefits and requirements of citizenship, helping LPRs with their naturalization applications, and preparing them for their citizenship exams/interviews.
Since ONVI’s launch in the summer of 2013, more than 8,600 people have received legal services, 800 people have enrolled in English and civics classes, 4,889 have submitted applications for citizenship or other immigration benefits, and 1,700 have been sworn in as U.S. citizens, representing 46 countries. 462 volunteers and more than 300 local donors, foundations, and businesses have invested in this $2.3 million public-private partnership, alongside the County of Napa, as well as every municipal government in the Valley.
Seen in the photos above, the Napa County Board of Supervisors, the Napa City Council, Congressman Mike Thompson, State Senator Bill Dodd and former State Senator Lois Wolk recognized the determination, hard work, and courage of Napa’s newest citizens at several Board of Supervisors meetings.
Photo credit: © Bob McClenahan