CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–November 13, 2015. With an estimated 370,000 lawful permanent residents in Illinois eligible to naturalize but who have yet to do so, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) visited Second Federal Credit Union’s Brighton Park location to discuss the citizenship loans the institution has started to offer. The citizenship fee, now $680, has nearly tripled since 1999 and has become one of the main deterrents to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) taking the final step to become U.S. citizens.
“Too many immigrants today are on track to become U.S. citizens, but face financial obstacles during the final stage of the naturalization process. Most don’t know that there are now low-interest loans available to help get over these economic barriers,” Durbin said. “These new loans are a safer alternative to the payday loans available through the predatory lenders that are all too common in Chicago’s low-income communities.”
In February 2014, Second Federal announced it would offer citizenship loans to help LPRs cover their naturalization fees and any additional legal fees incurred. Second Federal also offers DACA loans to cover the $465 cost of initial and renewal DACA applications. Around 260 people have obtained DACA loans from Second Federal so far. In Illinois about 37,000 people have been approved for DACA, and more than 19,000 have received renewals. The low interest loans offered by Second Federal and a handful of other credit unions in Chicago help community members avoid payday loans and the predatory lenders that have wreaked financial havoc on Chicago’s low-income communities.
Second Federal has branches in Brighton Park, Little Village, and Cicero.