WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has awarded grants of nearly $250,000 to the International Institute of Minnesota and the Mid-Minnesota Legal Alliance to help lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in the U.S. become citizens. This funding will also help to promote educational programs for prospective citizens to increase their knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics.

“Immigrants don’t diminish America, they define America. They strengthen America. They are America,” said Klobuchar. “I could not be more proud of the work conducted by the International Institute of Minnesota and the Mid-Minnesota Legal Alliance – two mission-driven organizations my office has worked with to support immigrants on their path to U.S. citizenship. With this federal funding, we are ensuring both organizations have the resources to support our state’s immigrant communities, strengthening our state as a whole.”

“As Minnesotans, we have a long history of welcoming immigrants, and helping them become important members of our communities,” said Smith. “These grants will help the International Institute of Minnesota and the Mid-Minnesota Legal Alliance do important work to assist immigrants as the work toward citizenship.”

The granddaughter of immigrants, Klobuchar has long been an advocate for refugees and immigrants worldwide.

Following the Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan, Klobuchar announced that her office would offer assistance to American citizens and Afghan allies looking to evacuate, subsequently referring the cases of more than 1,000 individuals in Afghanistan to the State Department. 

Additionally, she and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to the Biden administration urging it to prioritize the needs of women refugees. Klobuchar and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) also encouraged the Biden administration to help Afghan journalists resettle and continue their important reporting.

In February, Klobuchar introduced legislation to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence. The same month, she cosponsored legislation to provide undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) recipients, with a pathway to citizenship.

In 2019, Sen. Smith was a key player in passing the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act into law. This legislation extended permanent residency status to Liberians and included a provision which allowed eligible Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) Liberians to continue living in the U.S. 

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