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Arizonans Celebrate Citizenship Day With Immigration Forum

Pro-immigration groups are celebrating Citizenship Day with a forum in Phoenix to encourage legal permanent residents to become citizens. Credit: juanmonino/iStock
Pro-immigration groups are celebrating Citizenship Day with a forum in Phoenix to encourage legal permanent residents to become citizens. Credit: juanmonino/iStock
September 17, 2015

PHOENIX – Today is National Citizenship Day, also known as Constitution Day – and immigrants-rights supporters in Arizona are celebrating by helping more eligible people become citizens.

The labor union Unite Here Local 631 is holding a community forum in Phoenix tonight where new U.S. citizens will talk about why they became Americans, and others can start on their citizenship paperwork.

Maria Hernandez, a communications specialist with Unite Here who helped organize the event, says the anti-immigrant fervor in the presidential campaign has angered a lot of people.

"Dozens of immigrants are using this day to kind of show you know, that enough is enough and they're not going to take all this anti-immigrant rhetoric," she stresses.

Hernandez estimates there are 180,000 legal permanent residents in Arizona, and 9 million people nationally, who are eligible to become citizens.

She maintains the desire to vote in the next election will drive more people to start the process.

"For some people, a lot of this immigration controversy in some ways, you could say, has motivated them to want to become citizens so they can vote and make a difference," she points out.

Congress designated Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in 2004, to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on that date in 1787. An earlier version of the observance was established in 1940, and updated in 1952.



Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ