15 Recently “George” dropped into a workshop in Boston for help with his citizenship application. Years ago he com- pleted an application for US citizenship on his own, only to find out much later that he filled out the wrong form. This time, with the help of a volunteer attorney familiar with the forms and fluent in their legalese, George was able to complete the correct paperwork, right on the spot. Many people dream of becoming American citizens. For some, however, the idea of applying for citizenship can be overwhelming. Some may be discouraged by language barriers, the steep application fee, or the complexity of the application process. Others may worry they’ll invite unwanted scrutiny from the government, and risk deportation. In fact, although there are an estimated 300,000 permanent residents in Massachusetts who are eligible for citizenship, only 10% of these legal permanent residents apply. Project Citizenship reduces these barriers to citizenship by offering eligibility screening, application assistance, legal referrals, and other support. Since 2011, Project Citizenship has helped more than 6,000 people from 152 countries of origin apply for citizenship. The organization is also able to help waive the $725 application fee for many people. Beginning in 2015, Mintz Levin began collaborating with Project Citizenship to host workshops in our Boston office and elsewhere, and to date we have provided pro bono legal services to assist several dozen low-income immigrants with prescreened applications for citizenship. Attorneys Derek Constantine and Colleen Witherell oversee these workshop activities with Pro Bono Chair Sue Finegan. Approximately 40 Mintz Levin attorneys, project analysts, and summer associates have worked directly with workshop participants to help them fill out the necessary paperwork. The workshops give immigrants an opportunity to sit down with an attorney who can help them navigate the process and address any potential roadblocks to citizenship before they present their paperwork to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. “Knowing they have someone knowledgeable here to help them is important to them,” Derek said. “There are many aspects of the paperwork that can be confusing if you’re not familiar with it. It’s fulfilling to be able to have a tangible result at the end of the workshop that will help someone’s life.” The immigration policy issues raised during the 2016 presidential election also brought higher demand for immigration services and many concerns among people who had not yet applied for citizenship. Project Citizenship has been able to meet this increased demand and help people through what may prove to be an extremely stressful time for those without citizenship in place. On January 20, 2017, more than 200 legal professionals from Boston-area law firms participated in Project Citizenship’s Inauguration Day of Service, where the Mintz Levin team volunteered their time to help hundreds of legal residents complete applications. “It was very empowering to help people take the first step toward citizenship with so many other legal professionals in Boston,” Sue said. Overcoming Barriers to Citizenship “Mintz has been so supportive of Project Citizenship clients for the past three years.We are very grateful for the individual, empathetic,and professional attention provided to our immigrant clients on their paths to citizenship.” Veronica Serrato Executive Director Project Citizenship