SEATTLE - The City of Seattle has partnered with Uber and Lyft and local immigrant-serving nonprofits to provide free transportation to naturalization applicants to their interviews in Yakima or Portland.
The partnership is expected to help some 400 naturalization applicants, according to the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs.
In June, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services announced that Seattle-area immigrants who are applying for citizenship would have to travel to offices in Yakima or Portland for interviews.
Prior to the ruling by USCIS, applicants could conduct interviews in Tukwila.
"Redirecting citizenship applicants to offices over three hours away appears to be yet another brick in the 'Second Wall' of the Trump administration's anti-immigrant agenda - for low-income applicants without their own reliable transportation, and for the organizations that typically accompany them to interviews," OIRA director Cuc Vu said in a news release.
Lyft and Uber each donated $10,000 to support:
-The purchase of train or bus tickets for immigrant applicants, or
-To subsidize mileage costs for applicants, or
-For community-based organization staff accompanying applicants to interviews.
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The OIRA said Lyft and Uber are also providing 700 unique $10 ride codes to be used for rides "to and from the bus or train station in Seattle and between the station and the USCIS office in Portland and Yakima."
Officials said the funds will be distributed through 20 existing community-based partners in the New Citizen Campaign and New Citizen Program.
Anyone looking for more information on the partnership is asked to contact Joaquin Uy at Joaquin.firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.684.0155.
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