Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 | 3:17 p.m.
The Rio Hotel and Casino Convention Center will play host to a free workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday to help eligible legal permanent residents with their U.S. citizenship applications.
The workshop is limited to the first 200 qualified applicants. There will be a second session on April 21.
The workshop, titled “Ya Es Hora, Ciudadania!” (It’s Time, Citizenship!), has been organized by Mi Familia Vota, Human Rights Campaign and Caesars Entertainment.
Since its inception in 2010, the Nevada Ya Es Hora Coalition has assisted nearly 1,350 people at the local workshops. More than 400 people have volunteered their time to help legal permanent residents with the process, and after screening for eligibility, approximately 625 people were able to start or complete their application for U.S. citizenship.
“There are more than 70,000 eligible legal permanent residents living in Nevada, that’s enough people to fill the Las Vegas Convention Center,” Artie Blanco, Nevada state director for Mi Famillia Vota, said in a statement.
The citizenship drive this year ties into the November presidential election.
“We are holding the workshops earlier in the year this time around in order to give the participants time to apply and receive citizenship so they can vote in the November elections and fully participate in the democratic process,” Hergit “Coco” Llenas of the Human Rights Campaign Las Vegas said in a press release. “Citizens who vote have more opportunities to make their voices heard and play a greater role in strengthening our country.”
A screening process to determine eligibility will be completed and those meeting the requirements will be offered assistance.
To apply, applicants must be: At least 18 years of age; a legal permanent resident for at least five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen); able to read, write, speak and understand basic English; have basic knowledge of U.S. history and government; and be of good moral character.
Additionally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services require applicants to submit a $680 money order along with an N-400 application and other documentation, although participants do not need to pay the application fee at the workshop and may still receive assistance if they do not have the application fee on hand.
Participants should bring three forms of identification, a residency card, state ID and Social Security card.