Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 3, 2020 


Economists say coronavirus disaster declarations may be the quickest path to reopening; militia groups use virus, Independence Day to recruit followers.

2020Talks - July 3, 2020 


Trump visits South Dakota's Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore today; nearby tribal leaders object, citing concerns over COVID-19 and a fireworks display. Plus, voter registration numbers are down from this time in 2016.

Teaming Up for Oregon's Newest Citizens

PHOTO: Citizenship Days are held across the country, with volunteers on hand to help people navigate the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens. Photo courtesy OneAmerica.
PHOTO: Citizenship Days are held across the country, with volunteers on hand to help people navigate the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens. Photo courtesy OneAmerica.
May 1, 2014

SALEM, Ore. – Today's May Day march and rally in Salem is more proof of the common ground between Oregon's immigrant communities and labor unions.

The AFL-CIO has joined with the National Partnership for New Americans to see that prospective new citizens also learn to fully exercise their new rights and responsibilities, including job opportunities and voter registration.

Tom Chamberlain, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, points out that the immigrant-and-labor connection spans more than a century.

"We're a movement that was founded by immigrants,” he stresses. “New folks coming to this country are the ones who really pushed and prodded and got the progressive movement moving in the 1890s and then later, the labor movement grew out of that. And so, this makes sense."

Chamberlain says about 100,000 permanent Oregon residents have their green cards and are eligible for citizenship, but often are intimidated by the 21-page naturalization form, or don't have the money for the fees or legal assistance.

After becoming a U.S. citizen about a year ago, Cristina Delgado of Forest Grove now volunteers to help others navigate the process – most recently, last weekend on Citizenship Day.

She says while it can be difficult, she thinks people who go through it come out with a new appreciation of the nation they are joining.

"We're very knowledgeable about the history of the U.S. and the things to be proud of,” she points out. “So yes, it gives us that sense of belonging – belonging to the country, and the desire to continue to give back to this country and to continue doing better things."

Delgado says she was most excited about being able to vote. This fall, she'll go for a master's degree in social work at Portland State University.

Labor unions support creating a path to citizenship for people already in the U.S. who are working and contributing to their communities. Chamberlain says it's a natural next step in the fight for equality.

"We're already a diverse group,” he adds. “Bringing them into the political process, bringing them into civic engagement, will be good for our community. It'll be good for our electoral process, and it'll be good for the state of Oregon."

For those who missed last weekend's Citizenship Day events, the immigrants' rights group Causa has naturalization information on its website.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR