Posted on 09/19/2019

The center will serve as a gateway to citizenship by offering guidance and resources to immigrant Angelenos


LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced the City’s seventh New Americans Center at the Echo Park Public Library — an initiative to help guide immigrant Angelenos through the process of earning U.S. citizenship.

“Los Angeles is a city of belonging and a place where immigrant families are sources of economic strength and cultural depth — and we are stronger when we do our part to welcome anyone ready and willing to accept the rights and responsibilities of citizenship,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our New Americans Initiative is making our public libraries into something more than institutions dedicated to the pursuit of learning and knowledge — they are becoming entry points to the American dream."

Mayor Garcetti established the New Americans Initiative last year to provide resources, guidance, and assistance to immigrants seeking a safe and confidential way to pursue legal citizenship.

All of the New Americans Initiative’s programs are free to the public. Since its inception as the Path to Citizenship Program in 2012, the library has conducted more than 6,960 service and citizenship workshops, and aided more than 65,627 applicants with the naturalization process.

“People need reassurance that their City stands behind them, and the first district is proud to now offer a space that supports Angelenos in their path to citizenship," said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. "Libraries are an obvious location where we should give people the confidence to visit, receive services, and know that they can do that in absolute safety. I applaud the Los Angeles Public Library for their leadership in this area.”

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is the first municipal library — and one of only three in the country — to have librarians accredited by the Department of Justice to offer citizenship assistance. In addition to those services, New Americans Centers offer resources on English as a Second Language, information on tenant and worker rights, and workshops on topics ranging from constitutional protections to financial literacy.

“Libraries have long served as places to welcome immigrants to Los Angeles, and I’m proud that our New Americans Initiative has expanded beyond citizenship support to become a one-stop source for the help and answers that people need,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo. “We have helped more than 65,600 residents, and now our seventh New Americans Center will allow us to reach even more Angelenos. At the library, we are proud to welcome everyone, and this initiative exemplifies what libraries do best — connect people to whatever it is they need to succeed.”

The Echo Park branch is the seventh LAPL site to feature a dedicated New Americans space and trained library employees — joining the Central Library and the Benjamin Franklin, Junipero Serra, Pico-Koreatown, Pacoima, and Wilmington branches.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit lapl.org/newamericans or call (213) 228-7390.

Supporting and protecting L.A.’s immigrant community is a key priority for Mayor Garcetti. In 2017, the Mayor signed the 20th executive directive of his administration, “Standing with Immigrants: A City of Safety, Refuge, and Opportunity for All” to ensure that L.A.’s public servants stay focused on protecting people, serving communities, and saving lives — not inquiring about immigration status or engaging in federal civil immigration enforcement.

Other key efforts by Mayor Garcetti include leading a coalition of American mayors calling on the Trump Administration to ensure an accurate and inclusive Census in 2020, establishing the L.A. Justice Fund to provide free legal representation for individuals facing immigration detention and deportation, and creating a “Know Your Rights” campaign to inform immigrant families and households about their constitutional rights and how to invoke them.