Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic Charities To Help With Citizenship Drive

Published March 15, 2007

The Georgia chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is joining with over 20 other state chapters across the country to provide free assistance with the United States citizenship application process during a one-day event on March 24. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Inc. will join AILA attorneys and trained volunteers to provide assistance at four locations in Atlanta, Decatur, Roswell and Gainesville between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 24.

Lawful permanent residents (“green card” holders) may apply for U.S. citizenship. Citizenship confers the right to vote, bear a U.S. passport, petition for relatives abroad, and obtain public benefits. To apply for citizenship, a person must be at least 18 years old and have been a lawful permanent resident for five years, or for three years if married to a U.S. citizen. In addition, applicants must demonstrate that they can read, write and speak in English, have paid income taxes, pass a civics test and take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

The event will be held at the Latin American Association, 2750 Buford Highway, Atlanta; Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, 4151 Memorial Drive, Suite 205D, Decatur; Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill Street, Roswell; and the Community Service Center, 430 Prior Street SE, Gainesville.

At these locations AILA, Catholic Charities and other organizations will have staff present to help screen people to determine whether they are eligible for citizenship. Eligible persons will receive assistance with the paperwork, which can be daunting.

Event chairperson Elizabeth L.A. Garvish stated, “This event highlights one of the most important events in an immigrant’s life—becoming a U.S. citizen. We are joining together with over a dozen community partners to assist Georgia’s law-abiding legal permanent residents in the naturalization application process. “

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a national association of over 10,000 attorneys and law professors. Member attorneys represent tens of thousands of U.S. families who have applied for permanent residence for their spouses, children and other close relatives. AILA members also represent thousands of U.S. businesses who sponsor highly skilled foreign workers. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with 35 chapters and over 50 national committees.

Those who plan to attend will need information about what documentation to bring to the drive. Contact Elizabeth Garvish at (678) 904-0085 or (404) 606-3399 or e-mail her at