Strength. Prosperity. Opportunity. Innovation. This is the immigrant story, repeated time and again over the past two and a half centuries.
From the cities we’ve built to the technologies we’ve developed, immigrants have fueled the growth of our nation. Yet today there are serious barriers on their path to citizenship.
Nine million immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship each year; only 9% apply. A primary reason? Finances. Applications must be accompanied by filing fees of approximately $400–$1,200, money many of us — immigrants or otherwise — do not have. Often immigrants turn to high-interest options like credit cards or payday lenders. Alternately, they simply forgo applying.
BlueHub has been working on an innovative alternative: One Percent for America (OPA).
OPA empowers every American — current and future — to help remove the financial barriers to citizenship and its enormous promise for families, communities and our nation. OPA is a self-sustaining financial model connecting those who wish to lend or donate with those who wish to borrow, all backed by free financial education and passionate community engagement. It provides an expedited path to citizenship for borrowers who can submit their citizenship application while repaying a low-interest loan, rather than wait to apply until they have saved enough money.
OPA is grounded in the belief that when Americans support future citizens, it enriches both our individual lives and our nation; we are stronger as one united citizenry. When we accept this as our best path to a positive future, we can create a community of inclusivity around citizenship.
Leveraging the lending experience of BlueHub Capital, One Percent for America (OPA) has established a technology-enabled platform that provides individuals seeking citizenship with loans at 1% interest to cover their filing fees. Green card holders, Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status are invited to apply. The OPA loan covers the upfront fees required by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for citizenship applications. There are no application fees or late fees, no credit requirements and the borrower has a flexible repayment schedule. However, this is not a hand-out; it’s a hand up. Every borrower must pay back their loan in full, which enables us to support more immigrants.
OPA invites supporters from across the country to join the “one percent” and help remove financial barriers to citizenship. Supporters can lend any amount through a 0% interest 24-month loan, make a donation that will become part of a permanent lending pool, or align their organization with the cause through a foundation or corporate sponsorship.
OPA supplies free educational materials on the US financial system to immigrants, providing them with a valuable resource as they learn to navigate a new system.
Finally, OPA is building an online community, a hub where members support members as they work through the complex US citizenship application process. Participants will have access to competitive community benefits, as well as the opportunity to support advocacy initiatives.
At its core, OPA is a tool of empowerment. Both for those who wish to empower and those who seek to be empowered, the One Percent for America platform brings our community together to advance our nation towards true inclusiveness. Together we will dismantle financial barriers blocking millions of immigrants from becoming US citizens.
Historically, the “one percent” have been associated with the dramatic wealth inequality in the United States — and the growing inaccessibility of the American dream. One Percent for America turns this idea on its head by making the promise of the American dream more accessible than ever. Where the one percent of old erects barriers and hurdles to economic success, the new One Percent does the opposite, providing immigrants with resources and economic independence to become United States citizens.