Immigration & Citizenship

Immigration to this country began with the Spanish in the 16th century and the English in 1607, crowding out American Indigenous peoples. Later immigrants faced resistance from the descendants of earlier colonizers as they began to have a profound impact on the identity and growth of the country. America’s promise of a new life in a free country still draws hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year. However, American immigration tradition and policy continue to be hotly debated and are often the target of harmful ideologies and policy changes.

Learn More

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Learn More Online

  • American Psychological Association: Resource guides and information about the mental health needs of immigrants, working with immigrant origin clients, and the effects of some policies on immigrant mental health.
  • Don’t Be Fooled!: Learn more about misinformation and media bias using our online subject guide.
  • Immigration Research Library: A free collection of contemporary U.S. immigration reports, briefs, fact sheets, infographics, news and events. The Library hosts (with links to original sources) more than 1,500 U.S. immigration research reports with simple, straightforward abstracts drawn from respected universities and research institutes from across the country.
  • Need English Language Help? Take a look at our ESL/ESOL Resource List.
  • MA State Unemployment Benefits for Non-US Citizens
  • National Archives: The national archives include many historical immigrant records from the 1700’s through the early 2000’s.
  • Pew Research: Pew’s topic page is a good starting point. Relevant topics include: Citizenship, Immigration, Migration, and Unauthorized Immigration. Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research without taking policy positions.
  • Podcasts:
  • Student Aid: Federal student aid guidelines for non-citizens.
  • United States Citizenship & Immigration Services: If you need an immigration or citizenship form printed, the library will print your first copy of the form for free. (We offer the same service for tax forms as well!). Learn more about how USCIS defines refugee and asylum status and work authorization.

Get Involved

Join or support local chapters and organizations:
  • Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights: Provides holistic health care coordinated with social services and legal aid for asylum seekers, refugees, survivors of torture, and their families.
  • Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston: Offering resettlement, interpreter, and legal services to refugees. Also offers ESOL classes.
  • Dignity In Asylum: Located in Concord, MA, DIAS was founded to offer free housing and community support to people seeking asylum. Apart from a room for each supported asylum seeker, they also provide daily meals, transportation to lawyers’ and doctors’ appointments, and English classes.
  • Found In Translation: Providing opportunities for low-income bilingual women to gain financial stability using their language skills. Also offering interpreter services, especially in healthcare.
  • The Immigrant Learning Center: A non-profit in Malden, MA that focuses on English language learning and immigrant advocacy efforts.
  • International Institute of New England: Supports refugees and immigrants through advocacy, resettlement, education, career advancement, and pathways to citizenship.
  • Jewish Vocational Services: Offers ESOL and employment services for refugees and immigrants.
  • Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
  • Mass Legal Help: Content for Mass Legal Help is written by people in the legal services community. They have resource guides for housing eligibility, the rights of immigrant youths, and lists of legal immigration specialists.
  • Office for Refugees and Immigrants: MA State’s official office, offering citizenship services and resources for refugee and immigrant populations.
  • Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center Boston: Provides comprehensive services to refugees, asylees, and immigrants as well as the larger community. These services include refugee resettlement, asylee case management, counseling, outreach, education, and other social services.
  • Refugee Immigration Ministry: An interfaith community-based organization that serves asylum seekers in MA.
  • Refugees Welcome Home: A nonprofit organization that focuses on bringing together refugee service providers in the greater Boston area and beyond.
  • Social Justice Book Group: This book group is an informal group that meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. In addition to book discussions on a variety of social justice related topics, the group hosts speaker programs and presentations themed around the selected book titles.
  • Unafraid Educators: An organizing committee of the Boston Teachers Union working to support undocumented and immigrant students and families. They organize political action campaigns, facilitate professional learning for educators, and administer the Unafraid Scholarship for Boston students.
Join or support national or international organizations:
  • Support services and scholarships for dreamers seeking a college education.
  • Office of Refugee Resettlement: National office for resettlement services. An office of the Administration for Children & Families. Access government resettlement programs and resources online.
  • United We Dream: A youth led, national organization fighting for justice and dignity for immigrants and all people.
  • USA Hello: USA Hello is a free online center for information and education for refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants and welcoming communities.
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