Government

Immigrant Advocacy, Naturalization Center Opens in Union County

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ELIZABETH, NJ – Beginning with a quote by FDR, saying “Remember always that all of us are descended from immigrants,” Mayor Christian Bollwage helped open the state’s second labor-supported immigrant advocacy center, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at the Jersey Gardens Mall. He continued, “We Are One New Jersey – Union County Center will help people assimilate into society and reach the American dream.”

We are One New Jersey – Union County Center provides U.S. citizenship application assistance, including preparatory classes for the citizenship test and referral, notary and translation services, at low- or no-cost to Union County residents.

The center is a partnership between Union County and We Are One New Jersey, a nonprofit organization helping more than 400,000 legal immigrants living and working in New Jersey to become U.S. citizens. An estimated 52,000 legal immigrants living in Union County could benefit from the center’s citizenship services and classes.

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Mayor Bollwage said, “The City of Elizabeth is proud to work with the County of Union on this new initiative. The process associated with becoming a U.S. citizen can be complicated. However, guidance, assistance and reliable resources are available within our community. The We Are One New Jersey – Union County Center will connect individuals with dedicated professionals, who have the experience and expertise required to address concerns,  while providing the assistance needed to help residents achieve their goals.”

Commented state Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, “Wave after wave of immigrants has continued to renew Union County and shape America. The We Are One New Jersey – Union County Center will provide assistance that will help naturalize these immigrants, and enable and empower them to build stronger communities, and productive lives.”

The kickoff ceremony for the We Are One New Jersey ¬– Union County Center was attended by more than 100 political, labor, community and civic leaders, who also helped launch the county’s Workforce Innovation Business (WIB) Center. The WIB facility, which is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and shares office space with We Are One New Jersey – Union County Center, provides occupational and soft skills training and jobs placement for Union County residents.

“As the son of an immigrant, this has been my firsthand experience, so when Senator Lesniak called me about joining We are One New Jersey with my Workforce Innovation Business Center initiative, the potential for great synergy between the two programs was immediately apparent,” said Mohamed S. Jalloh, chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies. “I am very proud to partner Union County with We Are One New Jersey to help make the promise of a better life become a reality for many more Union County residents.”

The first We Are One Center opened in October in Jersey City. Citizenship classes and information clinics have already drawn hundreds from the community to the centers.

For more information on the programs and services available through We Are One New Jersey – Union County Center, call 908-355-4444 or email center Executive Director Elizabeth Montes at Elizabeth@weareonenj.org.

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