OCCORD's Immigrant and Workplace Rights Program is designed to empower low-wage workers and residents of Orange County through education. The program also provides free legal services to residents interested in naturalization in order to encourage full participation in the democratic process. This program provides citizenship assistance, registers new voters, teaches "know your rights" courses to both documented and undocumented workers, and mobilizes workers and residents in support of public policies that will improve their quality of life.
Orange County is a dynamic and changing space. It is one of the top ten metropolitan areas in the nation where immigrants are choosing to become legal permanent residents and eventually naturalized US citizens. Each year from 2002 to 2004, between 15,000 and 25,000 people became legal residents in Orange County, and 13,000 to16,000 legal residents became U.S. citizens, demonstrating that a large number of legal residents were previously eligible to become citizens but did not apply. The tourism industry, which makes up the largest portion of the Orange County's economy, has always relied heavily on the immigrant workforce. By facilitating the legalization process, OCCORD also helps Orange County workers become part of the Democratic process and therefore helps to ensure that politicians and public policy will be more responsive to the entire population of Orange County.
In partnership with unions, faith-based groups, and community-based organizations, OCCORD's citizenship fairs have provided direct one-on-one assistance to more than 450 people. All of OCCORD's citizenship fairs are entirely
free of charge and provide:
assistance in filling out the N-400 (Naturalization Form).
Free passport/application pictures.
Coordination with unions,
churches, and community groups to encourage participation from their
An opportunity to
register for free citizenship classes
To see how the process works, click here to watch a video from our citizenship fair in November 2009.