De Blasio, Chicago, L.A. mayors form initiative to help immigrants

Mayor Bill de Blasio and two of his national counterparts are banding together to help immigrants become U.S. citizens.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will join New York City in the Cities for Citizenship (C4C) initiative that helps streamline the citizenship process for foreigners. De Blasio said all three cities recognize that if they work on immigration reform the right way, it will be beneficial for all residents.

“From increased economic activity to larger voting and tax bases, the advantages of citizenship will not only expand opportunity to our immigrant families, but to all New Yorkers and residents nationwide,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

Citi Community Development, the banking giant’s wing that provides financial help for needy people, contributed $1.15 million to the initiative. Two national immigration groups, the Center for Popular Democracy and the National Partnership for New Americans, will coordinate the efforts among the three cities.

“Citi believes that citizenship is an asset that enables immigrants to gain financial capability, and building a national identity must go hand-in-hand with building a financial identity,” Bob Annibale, the global director of Citi Community Development and Citi Microfinance, said in a statement.

New York City for NYCitizenship, the city’s immigration aid group, will use the money to provide legal assistance for naturalization applications and help foreigners with any financial assistance during the citizenship process.

Naturalizing 684,000 immigrants will add up to $4.1 billion over 10 years to the city’s economy, according to de Blasio.

“This win-win effort will help us create more inclusive cities that lift up everyone,” he said.