EDUCATION Graphic

There are still openings for students in the 2019 Citizenship Class, conducted jointly by LULAC Council 4535 and the Killeen Daily Herald.

The 13-week program is for legal residents of the United States who are not U.S. citizens but wish to be. The first class will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Killeen Daily Herald office, 1809 Florence Road in Killeen. Classes will be held Saturdays through July 27.

Retired Municipal Judge Raul Villaronga, LULAC Council 4535 Foundation chairman, said the course covers three general topics: U.S. history and civics, English and helping applicants prepare the application form to become a citizen.

Villaronga, a former Killeen mayor, said that Catholic Charities of Central Texas will hold a session near the end of the course to allow immigration attorneys to answer citizenship questions. There will also be mock interviews to help students become comfortable with the process that will face them when they go to take their citizenship test.

All instruction will be in English, though Villaronga said he’s looking for volunteers to conduct a Spanish-language version of the class, Anyone interested in volunteering to teach can call 1-800-KILLEEN for more information.

Those who want to take the class must be legal residents of the United States who have lived here for at least five years, or three years if they are a spouse of a U.S. citizen.

There is no charge for the classes, though the students will have to pay $725 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services when they submit their application for citizenship.

Villaronga said an order of merit will be created at the end of the class and the top students will have their application fees paid, thanks to donations from St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. He added that he’d like to see those who have successfully completed the citizenship process “adopt” students in the LULAC class to help defray the cost of the citizenship application.

Over 200 people have gone through the class over the five years it’s been held, according to Villaronga. He’s been told unofficially by USCIS personnel that those who have taken the class have a 90% passing rate.

Students who can’t make it to the first class can still take part. Villaronga said the class will still accept students up to the fourth week.

More information can be obtained by calling LULAC at 254-289-3333 or 1-800-KILLEEN (545-5336)

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