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Naturalization Efforts Expand In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A national campaign that aims to find pro bono legal assistance for immigrants and refugees who want to become U.S. citizens just launched in Philadelphia.

"The New Americans Campaign has chosen to fund five nonprofit organizations to help expand naturalization and help Philadelphia's immigrant population become our city's newest citizens," Mayor Jim Kenney said during the campaign's launch event.

Esperanza Immigration Legal Services is one of those organizations.

"Philadelphia has over 100,000 lawful permanent residents who are eligible to become citizens," Esperanza Vice President Tina Barber says. "So to me, that's a really logical reason for this site to happen here."

Duane Morris LLP hosted the Philadelphia launch event at their Center City headquarters.

"In Philadelphia we have thousands of individuals who are eligible to naturalize as US citizens, but maybe don't have the means to hire an attorney," says Katharyn McGee with the Duane Morris pro bono council. "And there are so many benefits that accrue to our city if people are able to obtain their green card or citizenship in the US."

She singled out one of those benefits as getting more voters in the city.

McGee says they hope to have naturalized around 500 new Philadelphians by June.

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