SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The Center for Employment Training in Downtown San Jose hosted its 23rd annual Citizenship Day, where immigrants who are permanent residents start the process to become citizens.

“Normally we get about 800. We’re expecting 3,000,” said coordinator Teresa Castellanos, who said citizenship orientations are scheduled Saturday for immigrants in 14 languages. All they need is their green card.

She believes what’s bringing out these vast numbers is the 2012 Presidential election and Republican Primary in particular.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart Reports:

“We think that the increase in the interests is the presidential debate. Obviously everyone is talking about immigrants and the immigrant community and so I think the immigrant community feels they also want to participate in that dialogue,” she said.

Many of the GOP debates have been focused on the issue of illegal immigration.

The event was held in two locations, the other being Gilroy at Rebekah Children’s Services. The event is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Citizenship Collaborative.

Castellano said it’s not easy to become a U.S. Citizen, referring to the application costs. In some cases, she said they’re as much as half the applicant’s rent.

Still, many persevere in their quest for citizenship despite the time an effort involved.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. Dave says:

    If they have a legal Green Card, GOD FOR THEM! They should proceed to acquire Citizenship. They are not the ones causing all the concerns. It is the illegal ones that need to be addressed