Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Nonprofit group offers citizenship classes

By Xiomara Levsen | Aug 28, 2017



A local nonprofit group is offering citizenship courses at Kirkwood and the Washington Public Library beginning next month.

Administrators at Kirkwood reached out to several groups in the Washington area, including Latinos for Washington, about offering something like this, Latinos for Washington member Jackie Amigon said. Kirkwood offers English as a Second Language for free but was looking for ways to make the program more effective.

“It was not being used,” Amigon said, “so we made some suggestions and I suggested some U.S. citizenship classes.”

“We have a big enough community that it’s needed or else they’d have to go elsewhere,” added Latinos for Washington member Sonia Leyva. “This will be for anybody looking to get their U.S. citizenship.”

There are two classes being offered in Washington. The first class is an eight-week course starting at 10 a.m., Sept. 14, and will meet at Kirkwood in Washington until Nov. 2.

The second class is a four-week course starting Sept. 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and will meet at the Washington Public Library every Monday and Wednesday evening until Oct. 4.

A retired professor from Keota will be helping with the courses and will teach them in Spanish, but will not offer any legal advice to people taking the class.

“There are certain requirements that you need to meet before you become a U.S. citizen,” Amigon said, “and we are not immigration officers, so we are asking everyone that comes to these classes — if they have questions about requirements, those questions need to be addressed by their attorney.”

If the people meet certain requirements, they can take the U.S. citizenship test in Spanish, Amigon said.

There are citizenship classes offered in Columbus Junction, but this is the first time the class is being offered here. Leyva was invited to participate in mock interviews at the class being offered in Columbus Junction. She said she didn’t know they were doing this course there until she was asked to assist with this.

“We’re looking into seeing if we can do something [like this],” Leyva added.

Leyva and Amigon hope the courses become an annual thing in Washington.

“There’s always a need,” Amigon said, “and also [addresses] the beginning of the necessities or needs that the community has not met,” Amigon said.

“That’s a big one because people have to travel elsewhere and sometimes they don’t have the transportation, time, money, or the child care,” Leyva said, “so it’s just making it easier for people to become documented citizens of the United States.”

Anyone interested in taking the course or with questions may email Latinos for Washington at latinosforwashingtonicn@gmail.com or call 319-241-0502.

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