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New federal grant boosts Arkansas immigration advocacy group



Arkansas – Arkansas United (A.U.), the state’s foremost immigration advocacy group, has recently been awarded a significant federal grant of $250,000 from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This funding marks a pivotal moment for the organization as it gears up to launch the “Together Towards Citizenship (TTC) 2023 Innovation Project,” designed to assist Arkansas immigrants in overcoming challenges and preparing for citizenship.

This initiative, funded through the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program, will particularly address the citizenship service gaps in Arkansas’s rural communities and across the state. The project comes at a crucial time, as Arkansas has been identified as having the fourth fastest-growing immigrant population in the nation. This growth is most notable in the Hispanic, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Desi communities.

Mireya Reith, the Founding Executive Director of Arkansas United, expressed elation at receiving this grant. She highlighted the unique composition of A.U., which includes first and second-generation immigrants. This diversity within the organization brings a deep understanding of the naturalization process and its challenges.

The TTC program will encompass several critical components. Key among them are citizenship readiness assessments, immigrant integration fairs, and working groups involving employers, schools, municipalities, and immigrant-serving nonprofits. Another significant aspect of the program is the expansion of A.U.’s community navigator program. This program plays a vital role in helping first-generation immigrants and their families navigate the opportunities and resources available in Arkansas. It aims to empower them to fulfill their potential in both the state and the country.

Reith also pointed out that a significant portion of Arkansas’s immigrant population, accounting for 57%, has lived in the U.S. for more than ten years. This grant is seen as a catalyst that will enable Arkansas United to expand its efforts in empowering these immigrants. The goal is to promote their full participation in community life and support their journey towards realizing their full potential as U.S. citizens. The TTC 2023 Innovation Project, therefore, stands as a beacon of hope and a significant step towards integrating immigrants into the social and cultural fabric of Arkansas.

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