Queens Nonprofit Helps Residents Obtain U.S. Citizenship

AAFE hosted a housing workshop in Flushing. Photo courtesy of AAFE.

AAFE hosted a housing workshop in Flushing. Photo courtesy of AAFE.

By Jonathan Sperling

Preparing for the U.S. citizenship test can seem like a daunting task for residents interested in becoming naturalized, but one Queens nonprofit is working to make the process a lot easier.

Asian Americans For Equality recently announced a new round of no-cost classes designed to prepare local residents for the citizenship exam at the organization’s new offices in Jackson Heights. The course will begin on Saturday, April 6 and be held each Saturday for 10 weeks at 37-61 84th St., serving residents of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona.

“AAFE recently moved into a new office in Jackson Heights to better serve this diverse and growing neighborhood. We have a long history of providing services throughout New York City to immigrants, low-income families and under-served minority communities,”AAFE spokesperson Ed Litvak told the Eagle in a statement.

“In Jackson Heights, we serve people from many ethnic backgrounds, including members of the Asian, Southeast Asian and Latinx communities,” he continued.

Students can expect instruction on the civics exam portion of the federal government’s naturalization interview, as well as help with improving their English language and writing skills.

AAFE will provide citizenship assistance in English, Chinese and Spanish. Besides the organization’s regular curriculum, counselors are available for one-on-one assistance with naturalization applications, along with other immigration issues.

Immigrant services are especially relevant in Jackson Heights, where immigrants account for 60 percent of the population, according to the city’s 2018 Community Health Profile. Approximately 64 percent of Jackson Heights’ 179,844 residents are Latino and about 60 percent of residents were born outside of the United States.

“For many years, AAFE has been committed to helping as many immigrants as possible become American citizens. These classes are designed to provide participants with all of the tools they need to pass the citizenship exam administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS),” Litvak said.

“It is especially important now, in light of the misguided anti-immigration rhetoric coming from Washington, that we support the dream of American citizenship in our communities,” he added.

Those interested in signing up for AAFE’s citizenship course may call 718-316-9993. More information about AAFE can be found on the organization’s website.