County to help residents looking to become U.S. citizens

County to help residents looking to become U.S. citizens

Dane County is taking steps toward helping residents who are looking to become U.S. citizens.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Thursday the creation of a new Immigration Assistance Fund that will help more residents apply for citizenship.

The plan also creates a new immigration affairs specialist position that will help residents navigate the system.

Since the election, local organizers have received more requests for legal help to receive citizenship and have asked the county for assistance.

“This community wants to help our immigrant neighbors and wants to provide some nuts-and-bolts assistance so that they can feel safer,” Parisi said. “We want to send a message to our immigrant community that you’re welcome here. We care for you. We’ve got your back.”

The county will provide an organization with $75,000, but will also ask that organization to raise private funds to help more residents.

The new immigrant affairs specialist will be a bilingual Spanish speaker, and will provide outreach to organizations that support immigrant communities on how to navigate county services, including but not limited to those services provided through the Department of Health Services, Dane County UW-Extension and Public Health Madison.

The 2017 county budget will be amended to help fund the new plan.