Somali Community Center of Colorado

Video: Overview of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE)


During October, 2009, on five successive Sundays, the Somali American Community Center of Colorado is hosting a determined group of twelve Somalis, refugees from their home country. All are intent on gaining their U.S. citizenship after a requisite five-year residence in this country. The exam-interview is daunting, with a pool of 100 questions from which the applicant is required to answer ten questions, seven correct answers to pass.

The purpose of the class is to explain all of the 100 questions with the goal of helping the candidates learn them and understand their context. For many without knowledge of or experience with a constitutional democracy or participatory governance, the concepts introduced are as foreign as the English Language may be. Each week, about 20 questions and their answers are reviewed. Typed materials, as well as copies of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence have been distributed. A Somali-American volunteer, fluent in both languages, explains questions and answers after they are presented in English. Questions are also raised by the candidates, requiring further explanation. Understanding the basis for our government, as well as its functions, is integral to becoming an American, particularly when the home country has been engulfed in political chaos for 19 years. Evident in the room is a new appreciation for such a constitutional concept as “checks and balances.”  The class, a pilot for the Center, will be repeated for another group of people who wish to undergo the same process in December and will be part of an ongoing service to the Somali and other East African refugee communities.

The program was initiated by two volunteers from the 2008-2009 After School Program after one of the Citizenship Assistance Program ClassesSomali-Americans requested that the Center provide another opportunity, this time for adults in the Community. Review sessions likely will be offered following the more formal presentation of this material, since several of the candidates will not be applying for citizenship for another year or two. Two of the participants are teenagers born in Somalia, still a few years away from eligibility (age 18), yet they are there in the front of this class engaged in what will be a milestone in the process of their own Citizenship. 

This program, like others offered by the SACCC, needs help to provide the materials and teaching aids necessary to support it.  The Somali American Community Center of Colorado (SACCC) is an approved 501(c) (3) organization; contributions to its work are deductible for tax purposes as charitable donations.

For further information
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or call the SACCC AT:  303-369-5998 FAX: 303-369-5225

If you need forms:
USCIS ("U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services")