Citizenship Event in Oakland, California
In October 2011, three of our staff members traveled to the West Coast to help the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LiUNA) organize a citizenship application assistance event for their members and their friends and families. Today, LiUNA Local 304 in Oakland continues to provide free assistance holding two citizenship events every year, aiming to help 200 LiUNA members and their close relatives fill out the application forms. According to Fernando R. Estrada, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer for Laborers Local #304, “before the event we did with CUNY, we knew the need for this type of service was there, but we were not familiar with organizing citizenship events, and we didn’t know what type of response we were going to get. CUNY made it a lot easier for us.”
As a takeaway from CUNY’s intervention, Mr. Estrada notes how LiUNA learned that assistance from pro-bono attorneys is available for this type of event. “All it takes is to ask”, he says.
Something that Mr. Estrada highlights about the event held with CUNY is how after 25 years as a member of his local he had not seen any local union do a similar event. He also points out that after the event organized with CUNY’s help and two more events they did on their own, members derived great benefits from receiving this type of assistance. One of the benefits LiUNA members cite most often as an advantage of citizenship was voting, according to Mr. Estrada.