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Group Aims To Help Permanent Residents Attain Citizenship

There are millions of legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship in the U.S., and one group is trying to help these immigrants out.

Promise Arizona hosts workshops several times a year to help permanent residents start paperwork to become U.S. citizens. On Saturday, Feb. 2, dozens of residents came out for a workshop at First Church UCC in Downtown Phoenix.

Manuel Gutierrez is an immigration program coordinator for Promise Arizona. He said with immigration policies changing, many people are trying to secure their future in the country.

“Even if you are a permanent resident, you can get deported," Gutierrez said. "So the best way to secure that you can stay and live in the U.S. is by becoming a U.S. citizen.”

He said the process over recent years has lengthened to almost nine months because of backlog. But he said if there is another government shutdown, the process should not get interrupted.

“These applicants are paying to become citizens, so it’s a self-funded part of the government," Gutierrez said. "So it keeps going on with its processes as usual.”

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After spending seven months as a news intern for KJZZ, Matt Kling returned in January 2019 as a general assignment reporter, mainly on the weekends.Kling’s radio career started when he joined Blaze Radio as freshman at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School. At Blaze Radio he has served as a host, producer and assistant production director. He’s also interned for KTAR before joining KJZZ in 2018.Kling also has extensive work in television production, working as a director, technical director and other positions for Cronkite News and Arizona PBS. Today, Kling serves as a newscast producer for Cronkite News. He anticipates graduation from the Cronkite School in May 2019.When he’s not working, you can find Kling out and about on the town, or in his downtown Phoenix apartment watching his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.