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Floridians Celebrate Citizenship Day with Immigration Push

Citizenship Day, also known as Constitution Day, is being celebrated in Florida with pro-immigration clinics. Credit: avidcreative/iStock
Citizenship Day, also known as Constitution Day, is being celebrated in Florida with pro-immigration clinics. Credit: avidcreative/iStock
September 17, 2015

MIAMI – 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.

Subhash Kateel, communications director for the Service Employees International Union Florida, says his organization is holding a training session in Little Havana for volunteers to learn to run immigration clinics.

He says recent anti-immigrant rhetoric in the presidential campaign has a lot of people frustrated.

"One way they're striking back now is by volunteering to go out into the community and to make sure that everyone who's here that is eligible for citizenship, but isn't yet, becomes one," he states.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition is running a phone bank tonight on Univision in Doral to help connect undocumented people with the right legal advice. On Saturday, the coalition is holding a citizenship drive in Miami. The coalition estimates 830,000 people in Florida and 9 million people nationally are eligible to become citizens.

Kateel stresses people need to claim their rights.

"That way we can both increase the numbers of citizens in our community but also the number of voters in our community to hold the politicians that take us for granted accountable," he explains.

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 - FL