For Immediate Release: July 28, 2016, Philadelphia, PA – Recently naturalized clients from Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will issue the “Pledge of Allegiance” before the official Democratic National Convention proceedings including Hillary Clinton’s primetime nominee acceptance speech.
The two EILS clients confirmed to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” are Smith Chafil Alvarez Hernandez and Chafil Smith Alvarez Hernandez, twin brothers originally from the Dominican Republic who naturalized with EILS’ assistance at the end of last year. Their ethnic heritage is of both Saudi Arabian and Dominican descent, a unique and timely combination considering the backdrop of this contentious election season.
“Citizenship has always been our most popular service at Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) and we have never seen such a surge in naturalization applicants as we have this year,” said Mary Clark, Executive Director of EILS, “Our clients have expressed a real sense of urgency to apply for citizenship this year, not only to be able to vote in the November elections, but also to be able to secure their status in this country and that of their families.”
EILS was formed in 2009. The mission of EILS is to provide community education, advocacy and direct legal services to immigrants and their families, so that they may participate in and benefit fully from American society. EILS is located in the heart of a low-income Latino neighborhood in North Philadelphia.
Esperanza, Inc. EILS’ parent organization, employs over 300 people, has leveraged an investment of more than $90M regionally, and advocates on behalf of the Hispanic community across the country acting as an intermediary for the Department of Justice and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Esperanza hosts the bi-annual National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. which has been keynoted by former President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and most recently House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Rev. Luis Cortés, Esperanza’s Founder, President and CEO has worked with the past three presidents and their administrations as well as multiple international leaders as an advisor and special projects leader. Most recently, he led a delegation to Central America on behalf of the White House to address the issue of unaccompanied minors arriving at America’s southern borders and was also an advisor to President Obama, meeting with him along with other Hispanic and faith leaders on his 2014 Immigration Action.