'Help empower people': Free citizenship clinic comes to Milwaukee MATC campus Sept. 30
September 17 is national Citizenship Day. That’s why the American Immigration Lawyers Association is hosting nationwide citizenship workshops. The free citizenship clinic in Milwaukee is slated for Sept. 30 at MATC’s education center at Walker’s Square.
Brigette Kutschma is a supervising attorney with Soberalski Immigration Law. Kutschma says the goal for the event is "to help empower people to become citizens and to submit their applications."
Kutschma says lawful permanent residents ages 18 and older are eligible to apply. According to the clinic's event details, other eligibility requirements include:
- Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder)
- Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, three years if married to a U.S. citizen and living in marital union, or under certain other circumstances
- Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months, 18 months for one married to a U.S. Citizen
- Be a person of good moral character
- Be able to speak, read, write, and understand the English language; Have knowledge of U.S. government and history
- Be willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance
Kutschma describes the naturalization process as daunting"due to obstacles like language barriers. She says the process can take up to 20 years.
"The United States offers all of these things for anyone who's willing to work hard enough," she says. "The trend that I see is people in desperate situations, in dire situations dreaming of a life that could be better."
Kutschma says that for many people, U.S. citizenship is their ultimate goal.
"My husband, for instance, was born in Peru. He became a citizen while serving in the U.S. military. He speaks of that moment many years later about what that meant to him," she says.