The New Americans Initiative will offer guidance through the citizenship process and other resources at public libraries across Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced the New Americans Initiative, an endeavor to help guide immigrant Angelenos through the process of earning U.S. citizenship.
Unveiled today at the Central Library, the initiative expands services offered by LAPL Citizenship Corners, which have already assisted 46,000 Angelenos in all 73 branch libraries across the city. At the outset, four branches — Central, Junipero Serra, Pacoima, and Wilmington — will have New Americans Centers, where dedicated spaces and specially-trained, Department of Justice-accredited library employees will offer guidance on navigating the entire naturalization process. Additional centers will be opened later this year at the Benjamin Franklin and Pio Pico-Koreatown branches.
“Our libraries belong to every Angeleno, and the New Americans Initiative will help bring our immigrant neighbors closer to the dream of citizenship,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’re expanding access to information, services, and resources — so that no one in Los Angeles feels alone in taking an extraordinary step to build a more secure and prosperous future for themselves and their families.”
The 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 will offer resources and information on English as a Second Language and tenant and worker rights. Workshops on topics ranging from constitutional protections to financial literacy will also be available.
Supporting and protecting L.A.’s immigrant community is a key priority for Mayor Garcetti. In March 2017, the Mayor led the first-ever Cities’ Day of Immigration Action — an effort that mobilized mayors in more than 60 cities across America to galvanize law enforcement, faith leaders, legal advocates, and community organizations in affirming the indispensable role of immigrants in American life, and connecting people with the resources they need to protect themselves and their families.
On that same day, he signed the 20th executive directive of his administration, “Standing with Immigrants: A City of Safety, Refuge, and Opportunity for All.” It ensures 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. The directive expanded longstanding LAPD policies on immigration enforcement to Airport police, Port police and firefighters — and prohibits all city employees from using public facilities or resources to assist or cooperate with federal civil immigration enforcement.
Mayor Garcetti helped create the L.A. Justice Fund — a partnership between the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, the Weingart Foundation, and the California Community Foundation (CCF). It has funded 17 nonprofits that can provide free legal representation for individuals facing immigration detention and deportation.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has issued a “Community Resource Guide for Immigrant Angelenos” that includes comprehensive know-your-rights information and resources, including contact information for legal service providers and community organizations. The guide can be downloaded in English and Spanish at lamayor.org/KnowYourRights.