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| The strenghtening of immigrant communities is an important strategy for immigrant
integration. The development of strong immigrant community institutions enables immigrants to help one another and to acclimate
to the larger society. Participation in the political process also advances integration and helps to bring about positive
social change. These studies and reports discuss various aspects of immigrant civic participation.|
How Does Allowing Noncitizens to Vote Affect Local
The Center for Growth and Opportunity, Utah State University,
August 2023, 17 pp.
Authors: Brian K. Strow & Claudia W. Strow
The purpose of this paper is to analyze
the barriers to the optimal provision of public goods brought about by large-scale immigration of individuals, some of whom
are prevented from voting in the political process. As only half of the US foreign-born population are naturalized citizens,
the lack of voting rights among the remaining foreign-born residents amounts to the exclusion of more than 6% of the US population
from revealing their preferences through the political process. This percentage is much higher in states and communities with
larger numbers of immigrants. This disenfranchisement (or lack of ability to vote) prohibits these consumers of public goods
from revealing their preferences for public goods via the ballot box and, in some cases, also reduces their incentive to vote
with their feet. This paper suggests that local level voter participation by immigrants could lead to greater overall efficiency
in public good provision. “From an efficiency and fairness standpoint relative to the benefits principle, granting foreign-born
resident noncitizens the right to vote in local elections increases economic efficiency, fairness, and societal utility by
lowering information costs to public goods providers.” Moreover, foreign-born residents (authorized and unauthorized
alike) pay property and sales taxes at rates “virtually indistinguishable from US citizens.” The authors also
point out that the U.S. Constitution does not ban noncitizens from voting in local elections.
Citizenship Studies, 25th anniversary
issue, 2022, 18 pp.
Author: Ayelet Shachar
This provocative paper, prepared for the 25th anniversary issue
of the journal Citizenship Studies, examines the plight of those members of the global population whose access to
citizenship is denied or severely restricted. While 97 percent of the world’s population gains access to citizenship
solely by virtue of where or to whom they are born, a growing number of people worldwide need access to what the author calls
the “secondary allocation” of citizenship. Countries, however, use “the trinity of the territorial, the
cultural, and the economic” to block access to citizenship especially for the less privileged. Wealth requirements
harken back to the days when citizenship was severely restricted even for those born into a particular state jurisdiction.
However, “The bolted gates of admission, so carefully guarded when it comes to the many, are swung open when it comes
to the select few: the global 1%.” Not only are economic restrictions erected as a barrier to citizenship, so,
too, are the cultural. A new emphasis on “cultural integrity” has produced a “philosophical shift from naturalization
as a tool of integration to naturalization as the end-point of successful integration.” As world migration continues
to grow, especially as climate-induced disasters displace millions of people, the world will need “new answers, new
tools, new international conventions that are not yet written,” to reduce the inequities of current citizenship policy.
Fiscal Year 2020 U.S. Naturalizations Annual Flow
Dept. of Homeland Security,
Office of Immigration Statistics, October 4, 2021
Author: Sean Long
This report presents information on the
number and characteristics of persons aged 18 and over who naturalized during the government’s fiscal year 2020 (October
2019 - September 2020). While the number of persons who applied for naturalization during this period was up 16% from the
previous year (to 968,000), the number of person who were granted citizenship was down 26%, to 628,000 — the lowest
number since 2010. The suspension of in-person services by USCIS, due to COVID, was in part responsible. Asia continues to
be the top region of birth for the newly naturalized (as it has since the 1970s), though Mexico was the leading single country
of birth for those who naturalized in 2020. New York-Newark-Jersey City was the metropolitan area with the highest number
of naturalizations, while California was the top state of residence for the newly naturalized. Immigrants from Africa and
Asia spent the least amount of time in LPR status before becoming citizens (six years). For all immigrants, the amount of
time spent as permanent residents before naturalizing has fluctuated between six and eight years in the last decade, and was
seven years in 2020. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
The importance of race, gender, and religion in
naturalization adjudication in the United States,
Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, 119: 9 (February 22, 2022), 18 pp.
Authors: Emiyl Ryo & Reed Humphrey
data obtained in response to an FOIA request on naturalization applications adjudicated between 2014 and 2018, this study
examines racial, ethnic, gender and religious disparities in denial rates for these applications. The numbers involved are
significant, and the consequences of denial are serious. In 2015, for example, 9.4% of nonmilitary applications resulted in
denial, impacting more than 75,000 individuals. Before presenting their findings, the authors review the history of
discriminatory processing of citizenship applications in American history. They point out that “race/ethnicity and gender
have long served as enduring bases of exclusion for citizenship in the United States.” Although formal legal restrictions
based on race/ethnicity, gender, and religion no longer govern eligibility for naturalization, the process is open to bias
in a number of ways, e.g. through conscious or unconscious bias on the part of the government employee reviewing the application,
or through discriminatory practices in policing and criminal justice which create disqualifying criminal records. The
authors find that “the odds of approval are consistently smaller for non-White and Hispanic applicants than White applicants.”
Although a 5% difference between Black applicants and White applicants may appear small, they argue, the number of people
impacted by such a discrepancy is large enough to warrant concern.
Law School Research Paper, December 28, 2021, 30 pp.
Author: Rose Cuison-Villazor
A common belief is that
the pursuit of American citizenship constitutes a dream, but one unattainable for many. “Rejecting Citizenship”
challenges this conventional wisdom that has dominated legal scholarship for many years. In this review of Ming Chen’s
book, Pursuing Citizenship in the Enforcement Era, Rutgers professor Rose Cusion-Villazor rejects Chen’s emphasis on
the overwhelming desire for citizenship among noncitizens, arguing instead that focusing on the pursuit of citizenship and
the barriers that noncitizens face in this pursuit only tells part of the story. By calling attention to cases of citizenship
rejection, Cusion-Villazor contends that legal scholarship should also consider how and why noncitizens and citizens alike
refuse American citizenship. She points to the increasing numbers of legal permanent residents who do not apply to become
citizens, even though qualified to do so, and to the case of American Samoans rejecting American citizenship. These trends
show that immigrants do not always see citizenship as desirable or an ideal to be pursued. Indeed, membership as a citizen
in the American nation-state may not act as a tool of integration and equality, but rather as a form of subordination. By
rejecting traditional conceptions of citizenship as an ideal that noncitizens pursue, Cuison-Villazor proposes alternative
methods of belonging to the United States – methods that move away from the current paths to becoming a citizen towards
those where the rights and privileges of citizenship are extended to others, including noncitizens. Indeed, understanding
why many might reject citizenship paves the way to understanding and creating more just models of national belonging.
(Sonali Ravi for the Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
“By Accident of Birth”: The Battle
over Birthright Citizenship after United States v. Wong Kim Ark,
Yale Journal of Law and the
Humanities, November 26, 2021, 65 pp.
Author: Amanda Frost
In theory, birthright citizenship has been well
established in U.S. law since 1898, when the Supreme Court held in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that all persons born on
U.S. soil are U.S. citizens. However, this study shows how Chinese-Americans were challenged, and often blocked from citizenship
in the years that followed. The U.S. government reacted to its loss in Wong’s case at first by refusing to accept the
rule of birthright citizenship, and then by creating onerous proof-of-citizenship requirements that obstructed recognition
of birthright citizenship for certain ethnic groups. Among those most affected by this discriminatory policy were the children
of Chinese-American citizens, who under U.S. law were entitled to citizenship as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. The
ban against Chinese immigration, however, also created a cottage industry of fraudulent claims of citizenship. The result
was a system in which fraudulent claimants competed with legitimate ones, all in a battle with immigration officials seeking
to keep the Chinese out of the United States.
Making Citizenship an Organizing Principle of the
US Immigration System
Center for Migration Studies, June 2021, 41 pp.
Donald Kerwin et al
This paper proposes that the United States treat naturalization not as the culmination of
a long and uncertain individual process, but as an organizing principle of the entire US immigration system and its expectation
for new Americans. The authors examine two main ways that the Biden-Harris administration’s immigration agenda
can be realized – by expanding access to permanent residence and by increasing naturalization numbers and rates. First,
the paper proposes administrative and, to a lesser degree, legislative measures that would expand the pool of eligible-to-naturalize
immigrants. Second, it identifies three underlying factors – financial resources, English language proficiency, and
education – that strongly influence naturalization rates. It argues that these factors must be addressed, in large part,
outside of and prior to the naturalization process. In addition, it provides detailed estimates of populations with large
eligible-to-naturalize numbers, populations that naturalize at low rates, and populations with increasing naturalization rates.
It argues that the administration’s immigration strategy should prioritize all three groups for naturalization promotion
Unequal Access: Wealth as Barrier and Accelerator
Citizenship Studies, June 28, 2021, 68 pp.
Despite governments around the world strengthening physical, symbolic, and material boundaries
to restrict access to their territories and complicate naturalization, high net worth individuals often do not experience
these barriers, as capital often serves as a “golden passport to citizenship.” Scholar Ayelet Shachar’s
article “Unequal access: wealth as barrier and accelerator to citizenship”, combines insights from the
history of citizenship with contemporary legal analysis to explore the role of wealth as both an accelerator and a barrier
to citizenship. Shachar notes how sorting strategies of restrictive closure and selective openness which depend on “varieties
of affluence” (including income, wealth, equity, credit, etc.) influence individuals’ possibilities for entry,
settlement, and naturalization. Shachar conceptually links this wealth-based admission strategy to older, exclusionary systems
in which individuals had to own property (land, resources, or in relation to their ‘dependents’ like women, slaves,
and children) to qualify for citizenship. Shachar points out the political and social struggles that it took to undo such
ancient models and replace them with systems of political membership prioritizing equality above all else, thus, asking if
we will continue to deny citizenship to individuals who cannot afford it. (Erika Hernandez for The Immigrant Learning
Center’s Public Education Institute)
Naturalization and Citizenship: Who Benefits?
IZA World of Labor, April 2020, 10 pp.
Gathmann & Ole Monscheuer
This review of the literature by IZA World of Labor finds that citizenship
among immigrants in Europe improves their economic and social integration. Gains were greatest among naturalized
immigrants from poorer countries who experienced a substantial increase in wages. Naturalized immigrant women
also fared well, often entering into sectors of the economy with higher paying salaries following naturalization. The
authors state that policy analysis is needed for country-specific case studies to determine whether the benefits
of citizenship are a main driver in increasing economic and social integration or if certain categories of immigrants are
better positioned for success in the labor market. For instance, naturalized U.S. citizens tend to have higher
education levels and earning potential than non-naturalized U.S. citizens. The wages of naturalized men in the U.S. grew 25 percent more
relative to non-naturalized immigrants over a period of 10 years. To what extent did education levels contribute
to these wage gains, as opposed to citizen status? Based on existing evidence, the article concludes that citizenship
substantially benefits immigrants in the labor market and, as such, liberal naturalization laws allow for immigrants
to better integrate into the economy and society, benefitting both the immigrant and host country. (Mia Fasano for
The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
The Seeds of Ideology: Historical Immigration and Political Preferences in the United States,
Harvard Business School, Working Paper 20-118, May 2020, 44 pp. + appendices
Authors: Paola Giuliano & Marco Tabellin
Can the history of earlier immigration to the U.S. affect the
politics of today? The “assimilation” debate of today shows little change in the long-held positions among
immigration restrictionists, who argue that immigrants’ failure to assimilate is a danger to the
American way of life. However, the authors of The Seeds of Ideology: Historical Immigration and Political Preferences
in the United States argue that current residents of U.S. counties with a higher proportion of
immigrants who were exposed to welfare state reforms in Europe prior to their arrival between 1910 and 1930 have influenced the
political landscape through their support of more liberal ideological positions, such as redistribution of wealth. So,
while studies on short-run political effects of immigration show a negative association
with natives’ preferences for redistribution, the less-studied, long-run impact on American
ideology shows an enduring effect of home-country ideology. Published by the Harvard Business School, the report utilizes
census data and the Cooperative Congressional Election Study to show that the long-term presence of immigrants
leads to higher social cohesion and a generally stronger desire for generous government spending. While many
studies have argued that earlier waves of immigrants have influenced American culture in areas of music and cuisine, the authors
believe that their study is “the first to systematically document a similar impact on economic preferences and on political
ideology.” For example, residents of counties at the 75th percentile of the historical immigrant share are
5.2 percent more likely to support welfare spending than individuals in counties at the 25th percentile. The
authors highlight that assimilation is not a one-way street, but rather that immigrants’ convergence
toward the new culture can be accompanied by their value transmissions to natives, thus fostering a more
open and “complex” society. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center)
A Rockier Road to U.S. Citizenship? Findings of a Survey on Changing Naturalization Procedures,
Migration Policy Institute, July 2020, 32 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps &
In September 2019, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) administered
a survey of immigrant service providers participating in the New Americans Campaign. The ILRC wanted to understand changes
that these providers were observing in the naturalization process in the 18 to 24 months prior to the survey. The Migration
Policy Institute analyzed the survey responses, and issued this report. The report discusses naturalization application details
that are receiving more scrutiny, the form the additional scrutiny is taking, and how widespread the changes in the naturalization
process have been. Service providers reported seeing more scrutiny regarding marriage and child support, tax compliance, continuous
U.S. residency, good moral character, the content of earlier green card and asylum applications, and more. The additional
scrutiny, the report found, was widespread. For example, of the 52 USCIS field offices included in this survey, adjudicators
in 27 of the offices required more information about marriage and child support. The additional scrutiny came in the form
of longer interviews, more requests for evidence, and questions that came after the interview. All of this extra scrutiny
created additional work for clients, their representatives, and the adjudicators — slowing down the naturalization process.
For all the additional work (which might be justified if significant fraud were found), the application approval rate has
changed little over the last several years, raising questions about the value of the additional vetting. The authors expressed
concern that these new hurdles combined with the significant increase in application fees scheduled to go into effect soon,
will discourage many eligible immigrants from attempting to become U.S. citizens. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger
On Eve of 2020 Census, Many People in Hard-to-Count Groups Remain Concerned about Participating,
Urban Institute, February 2020, 17 pp.
Authors: Michael Karpman et al
Even though the
U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, this
abortive effort has sown great confusion across the country. Drawing on data from the December 2019 “Well-Being and
Basic Needs Survey,” this report from the Urban Institute finds that although three-quarters of nonelderly adults report
that they will participate in the 2020 Census, individual self-reported intent to participate is lower among 18-34 year-olds,
those living with children, nonwhites, families with noncitizens, and/or high-poverty communities. Nearly one-third
of nonelderly adults are extremely or very concerned about who will have access to their Census responses, and how they will
be used. This sentiment is shared by 40 percent of nonwhite and Hispanic adults and adults in immigrant families. The
survey found that nearly 70 percent of adults hold the mistaken belief that the Census will ask about citizenship status,
and immigrant families believe the data will be used to find and deport people without documentation. Other historically
hard-to-count groups, including families with young children and young adults, have low self-reported intentions to participate,
while the lowest recorded intent is found in high-poverty communities. Congressional redistricting and the distribution of
federal funds to the states all draw on Census data, and federal law prohibits sharing identifiable information with other
agencies, but mistaken beliefs and lack of information about 2020 Census data will likely limit participation by people who
might stand to gain from future policy changes. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center’s
Public Education Institute)
Putting Americans First: A Statistical Case for Encouraging Rather than Impeding and Devaluing
Journal on Migration and Human Security, December 11, 2019, 15 pp.
Donald Kerwin & Robert Warren
This paper provides statistical evidence showing that as immigrants proceed
through statuses from undocumented to citizenship, their income, educational levels, homeownership rates and other metrics
of integration come to equal or exceed the native-born. The authors argue that it is in the interests of the U.S. to encourage
full citizenship. The Trump administration, however, is discouraging this progression, by implementing policies that: make
it difficult or impossible for the undocumented to adjust status; create barriers to legal immigration, such as the president’s
“proclamation” that prospective immigrants be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entry; and slow the
processing of a range of immigration benefits while raising fees and making it more difficult to obtain a fee waiver. Going
beyond that, the authors argue that the Trump administration is devaluing citizenship for native-born children of immigrants
in mixed-status families, some of whom may be forced to leave the U.S. with a parent who has been deported. The administration
is also making citizenship less secure with a major effort to review the files of 700,000 naturalized immigrants for possible
fraud or mistakes in the application process. The authors conclude with a set of recommendations for the administration and
Congress to encourage, rather than discourage, the integration and citizenship of immigrants in the U.S. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Naturalized Citizens Make Up Record One-in-Ten U.S. Eligible Voters in 2010,
Pew Research Center, February 26, 2020, 28 pp.
Authors: Abby Budiman et al
The number of immigrant voters in the U.S. has increased significantly over the past 20
years making the electorate the most diverse it has ever been. This report from the Pew Research Center uses data from the
Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) to paint a detailed picture of these voters. The report finds that 23 million
immigrant voters will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election, comprising nearly 10 percent of the overall electorate. Eligible
immigrant voters grew by 93 percent compared to an 18 percent growth rate of U.S.-born eligible voters. The majority of eligible
immigrant voters are Hispanic or Asian, followed by white and then black immigrants, but voter turnout among these groups
is in the reverse order, with black immigrants being most likely to cast a ballot and Hispanic voters being least likely.
The report gives a demographic overview of these new voters as well as their geographic distribution. Finally, the report
notes that while eligible immigrant voter turnout has lagged behind U.S.-born voter turnout rates, there is the potential
for eligible immigrant voters to gain a new role in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. (Samantha Jones for The Immigrant
Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
Do immigrants assimilate more slowly today than in the past?
American Economic Review: Insights (Forthcoming), originally published as NBER Working Paper 22381 (July 2016),
Authors: Ron Abramitzky et al
The authors claim to provide the first quantitative comparison of
the cultural assimilation of past and present immigrants by examining the names that first-generation immigrants give to their
children as they spend time in the US. Given that names have both cultural significance and are independently chosen, they
are a good measure of immigrants' intentions in weighing cultural heritage and concerns about broader assimilation in the
US. The data demonstrate that the rate of name-based assimilation is similar between past and present waves of immigration.
The authors also cite research to show that second generation immigrants have similar fertility rates, labor force participation
and political preferences to children of US-born parents. The implications of the findings reinforce the idea that immigrants
coming to the US work hard to assimilate at comparable rates to previous generations. In the past, worries over assimilation
led to the first strict immigration quotas of the 1920's. The authors suggest that these concerns, and policies which come
from them, may be misguided given the evidence available. (Julianne Weis, Ph.D)
Aspiring Americans Thrown Out in the Cold: The Discriminatory Use of False Testimony Allegations
to Deny Naturalization,
UCLA Law Review, 66:1078 (November 1, 2019), 1078-1138
Author: Nermeen Arastu
to the author of this report, Immigration courts have used the statuory requirement of “good moral character”
in a discriminatory manner to deny applications for naturalization. “Aspiring Americans Thrown out in the Cold: The
Discriminatory Use of False Testimony Allegations to Deny Naturalization” chronicles the ways in which the “good
moral character” clause has been used to deny citizenship applications on unsubstantiated grounds. Researchers have
noticed irregularities in the frequency in which applicants are accused of providing “false testimony,” which
leads to a rejection of applicants on grounds of “immoral” character. “False testimony” typically
amounts to an inconsistency in an applicant’s interview statements and other open source material available to reviewers.
Examples of false testimony can include inconsistent dates of trips taken or information on donations made. Author Nermeen
Arastu reviewed 158 cases that cite the false testimony clause as the reason for denying naturalization. Prior to September
11, 2001, only 28 cases discuss false testimony while 130 did so after that date. Of the 130 cases, 46 percent include applicants
from Muslim-majority nations even though they make up only 12 percent of all naturalization applications. The author notes
that the Supreme Court has sought to create limitations on the potentially “draconian” results of this clause,
however it continues to be overused by USCIS. (Patrick Bloniasz for The Immigrant Learning Center)
Impeding or Accelerating Assimilation? Immigration
Enforcement and its Impact on Naturalization Patterns,
Centre for Research &
Analysis of Migration, University College London, 2018,
Authors: Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Mary J.
The decision to become a citizen is influenced by many factors including cost, personal circumstances,
and immigration policy. One of the policies that has changed in recent years is increased interior immigration enforcement.
In this report, researchers at the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration in the Department of Economics at University
College London used the American Community Survey and local and state-level data on immigration enforcement to determine whether
this particular policy has aided or impeded the naturalization of eligible legal permanent residents (LPRs). In 2016, about
8.8 million LPRs were eligible to naturalize, but only 716,457 individuals a year on average applied for citizenship. Citizenship
offers stability, freedom from deportation, economic benefits and social connection to the U.S. as well as the right to vote,
access to government benefits and ability to provide visa sponsorship for immediate family members. Using a multiple regression
model to analyze the impact that institutional factors such as the prevalence of immigration enforcement in the area have
upon naturalization rates, the authors find that enforcement increases LPRs’ propensity to naturalize and accelerates
their naturalization, possibly in response to increased uncertainty about future immigration policy. However, the study also
finds that eligible-to-naturalize immigrants living in mixed-status households with at least one undocumented member, of which
there are 2.6 million, are less likely to naturalize (or more likely to delay their status adjustment), possibly out of fear
of contact with immigration officials. The authors find this impact of increased enforcement especially worrisome, as these
individuals are predominantly Hispanic and tend to fall on the lower end of the economic scale.
Northwestern University Law Review, 241 (2019), 27 pp.
Author: Amanda Frost
describes the Trump administration’s efforts to strip citizenship from thousands of naturalized immigrants. The author
obtained information about the administration’s efforts from Freedom of Information Act requests, legal filings, and
interviews. The author places the administration’s efforts in the context of how denaturalization has been used in the
past and how it fits in with the Trump administration’s overall enforcement efforts. Between 1990 and 2017, a total
of 305 denaturalization cases were filed by the government. The Trump administration plans to examine the cases of 700,000
naturalized immigrants. Having opened a separate office for this purpose, the government is hiring dozens of lawyers and staff
to focus on this effort. Thus far, more than 2,500 cases have been flagged for review, and 95 referred to the Justice Department
for prosecution. A July 2017 bulletin from the Justice Department to U.S. Attorneys makes clear that the pursuit of denaturalization
against an individual will not depend on whether or not that individual poses a security threat. U.S. attorneys are urged
to pursue civil denaturalization, rather than criminal denaturalization, because civil denaturalization can be obtained based
on conduct that may not amount to a crime Moreover, there is no statute of limitations for civil denaturalization, and a civil
case avoids many of the due process protections afforded individuals in criminal cases. The author notes that, in addition
to its crackdown on illegal immigration, the administration has also tried to discourage legal immigration by making it much
harder to get through the process. With its denaturalization campaign, the author writes, the administration means “to
send the message that no immigrant in the United States will ever be secure.” (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger
Citizenship Delayed: Civil Rights and Voting Implications of the Backlog in Citizenship and
Colorado state Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,
September 2019, 45 pp.
This report from the Colorado State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights examines the large backlog
of immigration applications at the Denver Field Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The Denver Office’s
backlog, while among the largest in the nation, is consistent with an overall national backlog, and so the study addresses
both local and national issues. The commission consulted immigration advocates, attorneys, academics, and current officials
and held an open session with public comment. While making no findings of intention to discriminate or cause disparate outcomes,
this study concludes that policies and practices that have increased scrutiny of applications, insufficient response to predictable
changes in the submission of applications, inefficiency within the agency, and inadequate resources and funding have all contributed
to the backlog. The report also concludes that that the backlog is having important implications for voting rights, civil
rights, and the administration of justice. Processing delays suppress the vote by unreasonably delaying citizenship status
for otherwise eligible voters, violate the Administrative Procedure Act, and limit employment opportunities for work-authorized
immigrants. The study makes suggestions for how applicants might obtain relief through the justice system. Finally, it makes
several recommendations for action at various levels of government, including streamlining the adjudication process, working
toward better prediction models for application submissions, providing better transparency, increasing Congressional oversight
of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s operations, and appropriating temporary funding to eliminate the current
backlog. (Karen D. Caplan, Ph.D., Rutgers University -- Newark)
‘Descended from Immigrants and Revolutionists’:
How Family Immigration History Shapes Representation in Congress,
Harvard Kennedy School, Faculty Research Working Paper, September 2019, 46 pp. + appendices
Authors: James Feigenbaum et al
Does recent immigrant lineage influence the legislative behavior of
members of Congress on immigration policy? “Descended from Immigrants and Revolutionists: How Family Immigration History
Shapes Representation in Congress,” published by the Harvard Kennedy School, examines the ways that family histories
of immigration impact lawmakers in comparison to other factors. The paper explores the relationship between the immigrant
background of legislators (i.e., their generational distance from immigration) and legislative behavior, focusing on roll-call
votes for landmark immigration legislation (specifically the landmark 1924 and 1965 immigration acts) and congressional speech
on the floor. Legislators more proximate to the immigrant experience tend to support more permissive immigration legislation.
Legislators with recent immigration backgrounds also speak more often about immigration in Congress, though the size of immigrant
constituencies in their districts accounts for a larger share of this effect. A regression discontinuity design on close elections,
which addresses selection bias concerns and holds district composition constant, confirms that legislators with recent immigrant
backgrounds tend to support pro-immigration legislation. Finally, the paper demonstrates how a common immigrant identity can
break down along narrower ethnic lines in cases where restrictive legislation targets specific places of origin. The findings
illustrate the important role of immigrant identity in legislative behavior and help illuminate the legislative dynamics of
present-day immigration policy.
Noncitizens in the U.S. Military: Navigating National Security Concerns and Recruitment
Migration Policy Institute, May 2019, 23 pp.
Authors: Muzaffar Chishti et al
what capacity have non-citizens served in the U.S. military in the past? What are the critical skills they bring to the military
today? What steps can be taken to facilitate their enlistment and deployment without compromising national security?
These are some of the questions addressed in this report from the Migration Policy Institute. The backdrop to this report
are measures undertaken by the Department of Defense (DOD) since 2016 to strengthen the vetting of non-citizens – measures
which have greatly reduced the number of non-citizens serving in the military. The report closely examines the MAVNI (Military
Accessions Vital to the National Interest) Program, which has recruited more than 10,400 noncitizens since its creation in
2008. Most MAVNI recruits have qualified for the program based on their ability to speak one of 50 critical languages sought
by the DOD. Once enlisted, MAVNI recruits follow an expedited naturalization pathway. Security actions taken by the Trump
administration, in response to reports of security breaches in the program, have effectively suspended the MAVNI program.
MAVNI enlistees must now pass four different background checks, including the same “Tier 5” investigation required
for Top Secret security clearances. In the current environment in which recruitment goals for the military are not being
met and where the DOD has to spend enormous sums of money to purchase interpreting services from outside contractors, the
authors believe that these measures are extreme and unnecessary. The authors argue that a proper balance is not being struck
between implementing legitimate security measures and continuing to recruit from a rich noncitizen talent pool. The report
concludes with a number of recommendations, including opening up the MAVNI program to those with computer skills and allowing
MAVNI recruits to do basic training while their security clearances are being processed.
Understanding the Catalysts for Citizenship Application: User Research on Those Eligible
New America, May 2019, 113 pp.
Authors: Ralph Majma et al
This research seeks to gain
greater understanding of the practical variables that influence decisions to naturalize. While advocates have expended much
effort to promote and facilitate naturalization, including publicizing the benefits of naturalization, they have focused less
attention on the “catalysts” that transform inertia into action. Immigrants, for example, may recognize the right
to vote as a benefit of naturalization but not see this benefit as a strong enough incentive to apply for citizenship.
As the number of permanent residents eligible to apply for naturalization (currently 8.5 million) appears to be growing, not
shrinking, understanding motivational dynamics may translate into greater programmatic effectiveness. The research team for
this study employed multiple qualitative methods to dig deeper into these motivational questions, including conducting 63
directed interviews, speaking with over 20 subject matter experts, conducting 117 in-person surveys, and completing 22 testing
sessions. Their approach produced 8 key findings and six recommendations for local, state, and federal government bodies.
One key finding is that practical urgency often drives the decision to naturalize, including pressure from younger family
members and the convenience of traveling with an American passport. One recommendation is that states and cities should
utilize “existing touchpoints,” such as DMV offices and healthcare facilities to promote naturalization.
The Revival of Denaturalisation under the Trump Administration,
Globalcit, January 29, 2019, 4 pp.
Author: Amanda Frost
This paper probes the Trump Administration’s
decision to dramatically scrutinize past grants of naturalization and to pursue denaturalization as a policy priority. The
1967 Supreme Court case in Afroyim vs. Rusk restricted the government’s ability to revoke citizenship to exigent circumstances,
such as when individuals lie about participation in human rights atrocities in their countries of origin. Prior to 1967, on
the other hand, it was common for citizens to be denaturalized under broad national security and foreign policy concerns (22,000
immigrants lost their citizenship from 1907 to 1967). As a result of this landmark decision, there were only 150 cases of
denaturalization between 1968 and 2013. However, since President Trump took office, his administration has announced its intention
to reexamine more than 700,000 grants of naturalization for “fraud” or “misrepresentation.” Because
these cases are processed as civil proceedings, the standard of proof is lower and there is no mandated, court-approved attorney
to defend accused individuals. Naturalization forms contain broadly worded questions that may incriminate applicants who unintentionally
give inaccurate information on their applications. As such, there could be a presumption of guilt or misrepresentation of
facts for some individuals who have secured their citizenship. The author contends that the revival of the threat of denaturalization
is an attempt by the administration to discourage new migrants from coming to the U.S. and only serves to instill fear among
naturalized citizens of losing their right to remain in the United States. (Mia Fasano for the Immigrant Learning Center's
Public Education Institute)
Paths to Citizenship: Using Data to Understand and Promote Naturalization,
USC Dornsife, Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, January 2019, 37 pp.
Authors: Thai V. Le
In Paths to Citizenship, the authors offer a data-driven approach to encouraging naturalization. Understanding
the characteristics most associated with naturalized citizens can aid public and private organizations to best direct resources
in ways to boost naturalization rates. The authors utilize data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey and the
2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation to generate estimates of who is eligible and who is likely to naturalize. Results
indicate that the strongest predictors of naturalization are English fluency and educational attainment (adults with high
levels of fluency and education are more likely to naturalize than those without). An inhibiting factor is membership in a
mixed status family (an otherwise eligible person is less likely to naturalize if a family member is undocumented). The
authors find that providing language instruction and education are two ways in which to encourage naturalization, as is ensuring
immigrants of their safety and security. Place-based characteristics, such as red state/blue state voting patterns, state
unemployment rates, and ethnicity, also play an important role in determining naturalization rates. The authors also assign
low, medium, and high probabilities of naturalization to individuals displaying a range of demographic characteristics. The
report highlights the naturalization services of organizations across the country and offers a helpful interactive mapping
tool that identifies how eligible adults with different probabilities of naturalization are geographically distributed at
state, congressional and local levels. The question of encouraging naturalization in immigrant communities does not have a
one-size-fits-all answer, but the analysis and recommendations offered in this work can help target efforts and resources
to best encourage naturalization. (Sam Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Citizenship and the Census,
Loyola Law School, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-33, 51 pp.
In March 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it would include a question on the 2020
decennial Census to determine the citizenship status of the U.S. population. The article “Citizenship and the Census”
discusses the importance of the Census, the methodology behind the development of new or modified census questions, and the
effect that a citizenship question may have on the ability to accurately count the population of the United States. The Census
is a constitutionally mandated tool to determine the allocation of representation and taxation. Therefore, if Census data
is skewed, valuable political decisions and funding would be unfairly altered. According to the author, including a question
about immigration status may cause many individuals to provide inaccurate responses or refuse to respond entirely, particularly
in a political climate in which immigrant communities harbor deep fears of government officials. The author also argues that
the decision to include a question regarding citizenship without ample research on response rates marks a substantial departure
from standard operating procedure for the Census Bureau and could have far-reaching negative effects. One of these effects
would be to hamper enforcement of violations under the Voting Rights Act if there is a substantial undercount of minority
voters. In fact, based on court filings on this issue, the author suggests the motivations behind this proposed change may
be more insidious: “a desire to fundamentally rewrite the terms of American representation.” For all these reasons,
the author concludes that adding such a question is “both unnecessary and counterproductive” to the main goals
of the Census. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Case Western Reserve University, Case Research Paper Series in Legal
Studies, August 2018,
Authors: Cassandra Burke Robertson & Irina D. Manta
years ago, denaturalization (the revocation of citizenship granted to qualified immigrants) was exceedingly rare in the United
States, most often used in connection with the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Starting in the Obama Administration, the
government began proceedings against individuals who had obtained their citizenship in a fraudulent manner, either by concealing
information or misrepresenting themselves on their applications. The Trump Administration has ramped up this effort. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has requested funding to institute a task force aimed at bringing more civil and criminal actions
against individuals who were allegedly unqualified to obtain citizenship. The program has so far identified 887 potential
leads, and expects to review another 700,000 naturalized citizens' files, to see if there are grounds for potential denaturalization.
The authors of this essay question the wisdom and constitutionality of this program. "Stripping political rights
without adequate procedural safeguards destabilizes the very concept of citizenship by sending the message that naturalized
citizens may never be an integral part of the polity. It also upends the fundamental principle of the United States' founding:
that the state has only the power delegated to it by its citizens, and has no power to take that citizenship away. If
naturalized citizens cannot feel secure in their substantive and procedural rights, natural-born citizens (and especially
those considered undesirable by the government for any reason) may not be far behind in losing theirs."
The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States,
CATO Institute Research Brief, September 12, 2018, 3 pp.
Maria Mayda & Giovanni Peri
This brief is based on research appearing in an earlier NBER working paper.
The authors seek to explore the connection between immigration and electoral outcomes in the United States -- a topic that
they say has been neglected by researchers. Looking at the results of federal and local elections over a 20-year period from
1990 to 2010, in conjunction with relevant economic and demographic data, they arrive at several surprising conclusions. Their
“strongest and most significant” finding is that an increase in the percentage of high-skilled, i.e. college-educated,
immigrants in the local population leads to a decrease in support for the Republican Party. Conversely, the higher the
low-skilled, i.e. non-college educated, immigrant population as a share of the population, the higher the vote share of the
Republican Party. These results are magnified in nonurban areas with weak economies. The authors also challenge the conventional
wisdom that the voting habits of newly naturalized immigrants account for the strength of the Democratic Party in certain
states and localities. “A closer look suggests that the main impact of immigration on voting outcomes is from the skill
level of immigrants – which affects the voting behavior of existing voters – and not from how naturalized immigrants
vote.” The authors speculate that high-skilled immigrants benefit local economies through the “complementarity”
of their labor market effects and through positive fiscal transfers.
The Marketization of Citizenship in an Age of Restrictionism,
Ethics and International Affairs, March 9, 2018, 12 pp.
In today’s restrictionist era, a growing number of countries
are closing their gates of admission to most categories of would-be immigrants with one important exception: governments are
seeking to lure and attract “high value” migrants, especially those with access to large sums of capital. These
individuals are offered golden visa programs that lead to fast-tracked naturalization in exchange for a hefty investment,
in some cases without inhabiting or even setting foot in the passport-issuing country to which they now officially belong.
In the U.S. context, the contrast between the “Dreamers” and “Parachuters” helps to draw out this
distinction between civic ties and credit lines as competing bases for membership acquisition. Drawing attention to these
seldom-discussed citizenship-for-sale practices, this essay highlights their global surge and critically evaluates the legal,
normative, and distributional quandaries they raise. The author further argues that purchased membership goods cannot replicate
or substitute the meaningful links to a political community that make citizenship valuable and worth upholding in the first
place (Author provided abstract).
Letter Report on the 2020 Census,
National Academies of Science, Task Force on the 2020 Census, August 7, 2018, 22 pp.
in 1972, the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, has
provided expert advice to the Congress and the U.S. department of Commerce on the methods used in conducting the decennial
census since 1980. CNSTAT has been instrumental in guiding the government in developing and testing innovations in data-gathering,
including the replacement of the “long-form sample” with the American Community Survey (ACS) and the publication
of regular editions of its Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, which identifies the standards
to be followed in ensuring that government agencies produce useful data that is objective and non-partisan. In this letter
to the Department of Commerce, a Task Force of CNSTAT lays out its objection to the inclusion of a citizenship question in
the 2020 census. Among the arguments given by the Task Force are the following: The ACS already meets the stated need for
citizenship data; adding the citizenship question without proper testing will impair the quality of the 2020 census as a whole;
and using the responses to the citizenship question to create a new “population register” for law enforcement
purposes would violate the census legislative mandate to produce purely statistical data.
Tearing Down the Second Wall: Ending USCIS’s Backlog of Citizenship
Applications and Expanding Access to Naturalization for
Immigrants: Third Addendum to Second Wall Report,
National Partnership for New Americans,
July 2018, 10 pp. + appendices
Author: Diego Iñiguez-López
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) released a third addendum
to its Building a Second Wall report, which documents the growing backlog of naturalization applications since the
start of the Trump presidency. The author suggests this backlog may be a “critical tool in the Trump administration’s
attacks on immigrant communities” -- a tool designed to delay or deny citizenship to eligible immigrants. According
to the latest USCIS data, processing time for naturalization applications in the first quarter of FY2018 was upwards of 20
months, resulting in an almost 90 percent increase since December of 2015 in the number of backlogged applications. States
with the highest number of backlogged applications were California, Texas, New York and Florida. During this time, the number
of applications received decreased nationally by 12 percent, but USCIS processed 27 percent fewer applications. Some states
have also seen spikes in denials of applications. In Alabama, for instance, denials increased by 310 percent in the first
quarter of FY2018. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who have pending naturalization applications continue to be vulnerable
to removal, deportation and changing immigration regulations in adjudication procedures. In addition, a new USCIS office was
established to expedite stripping some naturalized immigrants of their citizenship, previously an extremely rare occurrence.
According to the report, these efforts by USCIS and the Trump administration mark a shift from focusing on granting immigration
benefits to reassessing and deporting lawful immigrants. Furthermore, according to the report, the reduced number of LPRs
who are becoming naturalized citizens serves as a powerful tool in voter suppression. In response, NPNA and its partners launched
a national campaign that seeks to reduce processing time to six months by building a coalition of elected officials to hold
USCIS accountable and by continuing to report on this important issue. (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center’s
Public Education Institute)
Municipal Suffrage, Sanctuary Cities, and the Contested Meaning of Citizenship,
Harvard Law Review Blog, January 19, 2018, 3 pp.
Author: Kenneth Stahl
Adapted from his forthcoming
book The Democratic City: Local Citizenship in the Time of Globalization, this blog post by Kenneth Stahl examines
how differing rules regarding suffrage at the local and federal level suggest the existence of different models of citizenship.
For example, while San Francisco, Chicago and a few municipalities in Maryland grant non-citizens the right to vote in certain
local elections, these individuals are barred from voting in state and federal elections. The author suggests residency
and a sense of commonly shared interest are at the heart of local understandings of citizenship, in contrast to the federal
level which grounds citizenship in birth or lineage. He suggests that cities, open to and dependent upon foreign capital and
immigrant workers, have developed this approach in order to survive and prosper in a globalized economy. Narrowly defining
citizenship at the local level may dissuade people and capital from locating in a particular city. To be competitive,
cities must expand opportunities for civic participation to all who reside there. At the federal level, however, citizenship
is connected to territory, and therefore limiting the right to vote can be seen as part of an effort to control a nation's
borders. The author believes these two conceptions of citizenship had historically complemented each other, but that
they are now increasingly in conflict. He also suggests that fluid conceptions of citizenship are alarming to those
who are not as mobile as those making choices about which city or country to reside in. He concludes that competing
visions of citizenship and the nature of cities in a globalized economy will continue to be flashpoints for conflict (Erik
Jacobson, Montclair State University).
Becoming White: How Mass Warfare Turned Immigrants
Social Science Research Network, December 4, 2017, 34 pp.
Author: Soumyajit Mazumdar
major thesis of this paper is that the state can play a central role in helping immigrants forge a national identity. The
mobilization of millions of men to fight during World War I, many of whom were immigrants, following so soon after a great
period of migration, provides an excellent test case. Based on data gathered from the 1930 U.S. Census, Mazumdar investigates
the relationship between war service and cultural assimilation. The author posits that individuals from the "social periphery,"
such as Italians, Jews, and other eastern European immigrants, who served in the military were more likely to assimilate to
the nation's "social core." Mobilizing for war facilitates assimilation through contact with individuals from the
dominant group, shared experiences and indoctrination of national values. The author measures periphery groups' efforts to
assimilate by marriage to U.S.-born spouses, naming conventions and naturalization. He concludes "that on average immigrant
veterans of WWI are substantially more likely to assimilate across a wide variety of measures relative to non-veterans."
Observing members of periphery groups risk their lives for the nation may help the social core become more accepting of periphery
groups because of their sacrifice for the nation. Without core group acceptance, however, assimilation was hindered. German
veterans, for example, were less likely to become citizens because of the forced repression of German culture during World
War I. The paper argues that, unlike mass education, mass warfare can reshape social identities. The paper contributes
to an ongoing conversation about the ways in which contemporary society can incorporate immigrants into the body politic.
(Sakura Tomizawa for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Building a Second Wall: USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming Citizens
National Partnership for New Americans, October 27, 2017, 27 pp.
Author: Emily Gelbaum
holders have applied for citizenship in record numbers since 2015. In the last two years, some 2 million immigrants have applied
for citizenship. During this same period, backlogs in processing applications have soared from 399,397 to 708,638, leading
to wait times of one year or more and creating a "second wall" to citizenship. In this report, Emily Gelbaum from
the National Partnership for New Americans points out that this backlog prevents immigrants from accessing the full benefits
of U.S. citizenship, including the right to vote. Delays in naturalization also frustrate the historical goal of creating
a better-informed citizenry. Studies also show that naturalization has a positive economic impact, improving immigrant income
by an average of 10 percent. The delay in naturalization blunts this effect. The author suggests that the naturalization backlogs
are a form of disenfranchisement and urges USCIS to dedicate resources to reducing the application processing time to six
months. The report also provides state-by-state breakdowns of citizenship applications filed, approvals received, and pending
applications over the last two years. (Mia Fasano for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Immigrants Assimilate into the Political Mainstream
Cato Institute, January 19, 2017, 16 pp.
Authors: Alex Nowrasteh & Sam Wilson
Using data from
the biennial General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, CATO researchers
find that immigrant political opinion, especially for naturalized immigrants and later generations of immigrants, does not
differ substantially from native political opinion, both in terms of political party affiliation and views on contemporary
political and social issues, such as government spending on welfare or views on marijuana legalization. The one area of major
difference pertains to views on immigration policy, and the authors speculate that a relaxation of Republican views on this
subject would "attract many of the Republican-identifying immigrants who frequently vote for the Democratic Party."
The article concludes with a discussion of possible reasons why naturalization seems to produce "politically and ideologically
well assimilated" immigrants.
Non-Citizens Are Not Voting. Here Are the Facts.
New York University, Brennan Center for Justice, February 13, 2007, 3 pp.
Wendy R. Weister & Douglas Keith
According to this report from New York University's Brennan Center for
Justice, an analysis of state prosecution records shows scant evidence of non-citizen voter fraud. The study identifies several
reasons as to why non-citizen voting remains low, including the harsh penalties imposed by federal and state voting laws.
These penalties include disqualification from naturalization, mandatory listing on a voter fraud registry, incarceration,
fines and deportation. Furthermore, most states have vigorous voter-identification standards that often lead to the over-reporting
of non-citizen voters. North Carolina demonstrated this phenomenon in their 2016 gubernatorial race when non-citizen votes
were reported in over half their counties, but none of the claims could be confirmed following investigation. The report also
references a study conducted by two professors at Old Dominion University -- and cited by President Trump to support his claim
of widespread non-citizen voter fraud -- which was recently debunked for using too small a sample to reach any kind of valid
conclusion. The authors conclude that non-citizen voting is rare, harsh penalties serve as adequate deterrents, and there
is no credible data that support claims made regarding large numbers of non-citizen votes. (The Immigrant Learning Center Public
Caught in the Gap Between Status and No-Status: Lawful Presence Then and Now,
Rutgers Race and the Law Review, 17:1 (2016), 27 pp.
Author: Sara N. Kominers
This study traces
the historical development of the "gray area" between immigration status and no-status. "Lawful presence"
first emerged with the creation of presidential parole power under the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952. Intended by Congress to
apply to individual aliens, presidents have used this authority to admit thousands of refugees during humanitarian
crises. Around the same time, deferred action emerged as another available method to confer lawful presence -- but not status.
Originally shrouded in secrecy, deferred action gained public attention in litigation surrounding the immigration case of
John Lennon, and after the publication of regulations in 1975, became a tool available to the general public. For a time,
"lawfully present" persons were deemed eligible for federal benefits like Medicaid, Social Security, and SSI, under
the Supreme Court's Berger v. Heckler decision in 1985, which allowed 15 categories of aliens (Persons Residing Under
Color of Law or PRUCOL) to access such benefits. According to the author, "permitting PRUCOL individuals to access essential
health and disability benefits indicates a recognition of the importance of including these longtime noncitizen residents
in the community..." However, this recognition ended with the 1996 immigration laws, which stripped most PRUCOL individuals
of such eligibility. Consistent with this hard-line approach, DACA recipients were also denied eligibility for health insurance
coverage. The author worries about the spread of "caste-like discrimination," especially as the number of people
in this in-between status continues to grow, and urges the courts to "lean toward inclusion rather than exclusion."
Wrongs, Rights and Regularization
Moral Philosophy and Politics 2016, 3:2, 36 pp.
Author: Linda S. Bosniak
In this essay, Rutgers law professor
Linda S. Bosniak subjects the concept of immigrant "wrongfulness" in illegal migration to in-depth analysis. The
usual "supersession" formula posits that the government's right to limit entry of foreigners can be overridden by
a "change of circumstances," such as a period of extended residence and the formation of ties to the new country,
that "transforms the original wrong into a non-wrong." In addition, supersession cannot usually happen without good
behavior on the part of the immigrant. Bosniak points out, however, that "there are costs and limitations to the
supersession approach" and that it "leaves unquestioned the existing set of rules and policies through which irregular
status is produced in the first place." Political theory, however, offers a number of alternative views. One approach
is to acknowledge that a wrong was committed but that the "wrong was not the fault of the identified transgressor - either
because the transgressor lacked the necessary mental capacity to be attributed with fault," e.g. DACA-eligible immigrants,
or "because she or he was acting pursuant to an overriding imperative," e.g. seeking asylum from war and disaster.
Another interpretation is that the state somehow forfeits its claim to charge immigrants with wrongdoing by its own "ongoing
tacit complicity in the perpetuation of irregular immigration via de facto toleration, inaction, incompetence and
overall hypocrisy in management of the border." Bosniak then introduces a new twist into her analysis: what if the destination
country had committed some "prior wrong" in the sending country "sufficient to transform the normative calculus?"
The history of U.S. intervention in Central America is a good case in point, but "how to conceptually model responsibility
for harm in such a multifactorial environment over time is, to put it mildy, an enormously difficult question for ethical
theory." Nonetheless, Bosniak sees some legitimacy in the "unapologetic" attitude of some immigrant advocates.
The fact that she embraces a "politically contextual, rather than metaphysical understanding of the source of political
norms" enables her to sympathize with this point of view.
Naturalization Trends in the United States
Migration Policy Institute, August 10, 2016, 7 pp.
Authors: Jie Zong & Jeanne Batalova
is the process by which immigrants gain the benefits, rights and responsibilities that native-born citizens have, including
the right to vote. The Migration Policy Institute 2016 report Naturalization Trends in the United States examines
the latest U.S. naturalization data including historical trends, countries of origin, eligibility to naturalize, and the socioeconomic
characteristics of naturalized citizens. Nearly 8.8 million foreign-born, lawful permanent residents were eligible to naturalize
as of January 1, 2012. As of 2014, Mexico was the top country of birth for new naturalized citizens, followed by India, the
Philippines and China. More than half of new naturalized citizens live in California, Florida New York and Texas. The median
number of years between the beginning of lawful permanent residence and naturalization is seven years. Factors that may alter
this timeline include an individual's ability to pay required fees, English proficiency and system backlogs. Using 2014 census
data, the report also found that immigrants 25 years of age or older who naturalize are more likely to possess a bachelor's
degree than native born citizens. Naturalized citizens also have higher median earnings than noncitizen and native-born individuals
and the same rate of homeownership as U.S.-born citizens. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public
How Immigration and Concerns about Cultural Change are Shaping the 2016 Election: Findings from the
2016 PRRI/Brookings Immigration Survey
Public Religion Research Institute, Brookings Institution,
June 3, 2016, 60 pp.
Authors: Robert P. Jones, Daniel Cox, E.J. Dionne Jr., William A. Galston, Betsy Cooper, & Rachel Lienesch
paper reports on a survey of a large sample of Americans in all 50 states, conducted in the spring of 2016. The survey included
questions on the direction of the country, the economy and personal financial well-being; levels of anxiety about terrorism,
crime, and unemployment; and opinions on trade and taxation. The survey also asked Americans how they feel about immigration
and cultural change, and about the upcoming presidential election. The survey also attempts to measure orientation towards
authoritarianism. Regarding immigration and cultural change, the survey asked respondents about their level of comfort with
immigrants who don't speak English, perceptions about discrimination against whites and Christians, and attitudes about Islam.
The study also asked respondents to describe some traits of immigrants, and whether they think immigrants strengthen the U.S.
or take jobs from Americans and drive down wages. There were also a number of questions focused on immigration policy-the
perception of the number of deportations in recent years, whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay (most
say yes), whether the U.S. should build a wall on the Mexican border (most say no), and whether the U.S. should ban Syrian
refugees (most say no again). Responses to this survey are broken out by race and ethnicity, party affiliation, educational
attainment, and religious affiliation, providing a rich description of the differences in attitudes that Americans hold on
these important issues. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
Breaking the Barriers: The Promise of Citizenship for Los Angeles County
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, May, 2016, 28 pp.
Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins, Jared Sanchez, & Rhonda Ortiz
In spite of the substantial social and economic
benefits of citizenship, 770,000 adults in Los Angeles County are "eligible-to-naturalize" but have not done so.
They make up one-third of California's eligible-to-naturalize population and one-tenth of the U.S. total. This report from
the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration details the barriers to, and benefits
of, naturalization, and uses a new method to map and estimate the population of legal permanent residents (LPRs) eligible
to naturalize in Los Angeles County. The report finds that, in addition to obtaining the right to vote and run for public
office, LPRs who naturalize realize an earnings gain of at least eight percent, which benefits not only immigrant families
but also the U.S.-born through economic spillover effects. While general barriers to naturalization include insufficient English
skills and the costs of the citizenship application, the report notes that different immigrant groups struggle with different
barriers. The report provides neighborhood-level maps of where the eligible-to-naturalize reside in the county in order to
highlight the areas with the greatest need for naturalization assistance services and to improve outreach to particular sub-groups
(the researchers were able to disaggregate the data for Mexicans, Central Americans, and Asians). The authors emphasize that
Los Angeles County is in an advantageous position for naturalization outreach given its strong infrastructure of immigrant-serving
organizations and the development of community partnerships to promote immigrant integration. (Crystal Ye for The Immigrant
Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Promoting Citizenship: Assessing the Impacts of the Partial Fee Waiver
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, May, 2016, 11 pp
Pastor & Jared Sanchez
The Obama administration will be adjusting fees for immigration and citizenship
benefits in 2016. As part of its new fee structure, the administration is proposing to offer a partial fee waiver for citizenship
applications for eligible immigrants who have incomes between 150 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level. (Complete
fee waivers are available to those who make less than 150 percent of poverty.) Using Census data, this report concludes
that 1 million immigrants will potentially be eligible for the partial waiver, or 12 percent of all immigrants eligible to
naturalize. The report provides charts showing how many are potentially eligible for the partial waiver in each state, and
from which countries of origin these immigrants come. It also provides maps showing the location of this population down to
the level of Census Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) for the four areas of the country where potential beneficiaries are
most concentrated: California, Texas, and New York (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)
States of Inclusion: New American Journeys to Elected Office,
The New American Leaders Project, 2016, 26 pp.
Authors: Christian Dyogi Phillips & Sayu Bhojwani
Through a survey of 544 elected officials across the U.S., this report seeks to understand the barriers that keep
minorities from running for public office. The current imbalance is quite stark: although non-Whites constitute nearly 40
percent of the American public, state legislators who identify as African American, Asian American, Latina/o, or Native American
hold only 14 percent of all seats. Immigrant first and second-generation Asians and Latina/os are even smaller in number,
with fewer than 6 percent of all state legislators coming from these groups. The researchers report that "the most
telling differences between racial groups" occurred in four areas: "legislators' personal backgrounds in their communities,
the conditions surrounding their decisions to get on the ballot, their supporters and their challenges during campaigns."
For example, Asian Americans and Latina/os were much less likely to envision themselves as state legislators than whites;
they often had to be encouraged by others to run. In addition, community groups and unions played "an outsize role
in their success." The report concludes with recommendations in the areas of "recruitment, investment, and reform"
to build more inclusive state legislatures.
The US Eligible-to-Naturalize Population: Detailed Social and Economic Characteristics,
Journal on Migration and Human Security, 3: 4 (2015), 23 pp.
Robert Warren & Donald Kerwin
Naturalization is crucial to fully integrating immigrants into U.S. society,
yet from 2006 to 2009 only 69 percent of immigrants who were eligible to be naturalized had done so. In working to increase
naturalization rates, policy-makers and practitioners have been hampered by a lack of reliable data on the naturalization-eligible
population. In this paper, the authors Robert Warren and Donald Kerwin attempt to resolve this problem using an estimation
procedure from the American Community Survey. Their research reveals that 8.6 million U.S. residents were eligible to naturalize
in 2013 including 2.7 million Mexican-born immigrants. Looking at the characteristics of these residents, the authors report
that a large number of naturalization-eligible immigrants may have difficulty in meeting naturalization requirements or may
need intensive support to do so. Reasons for this include a lack of English language skills, which prevents their passing
the required English proficiency test, and low income, which makes naturalization fees a financial burden. The authors
encourage federal, state, local and non-governmental agencies to reconsider current naturalization policies in light of their
data to better focus resources where they are most needed: identifying and supporting specific naturalization-eligible populations
to develop sustained increases in naturalization rates. The paper contains charts showing the percentage of legal residents
eligible to naturalize by country of origin and state of residence (The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute).
The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities,
Urban Institute, December, 2015, 38 pp.
Authors: Maria E. Enchautegui & Linda Giannarelli
study estimates the economic effects of naturalization in 21 American cities. Using a methodology designed to isolate the
effects of naturalization from other factors such as age, education, years in the United States, and other difficult-to-measure
motivational characteristics, the authors calculate that, if all the 1.9 million eligible-to-naturalize immigrants in the
21 cities were to naturalize, total tax revenue (federal, state, and local) would increase by $2 billion and aggregate earnings
would increase by $5.7 billion. Moreover, through an in-depth analysis of government benefit programs in New York and San
Francisco, the authors suggest that expenditures on government benefits, such as SSI, would actually decline in most localities.
Important data points in the study include: the percentage of the foreign-born in each city eligible to naturalize;
naturalization rates, i.e. the ratio of the number of naturalized citizens to the sum of those naturalized and eligible to
naturalize; top countries of origin of the eligible-to-naturalize; their socioeconomic characteristics and homeownership rates.
As roughly one-third of naturalization-eligible individuals had incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, the
authors suggest that the $680 application fee could be deterring significant numbers of immigrants from applying. Finally,
the authors point out that the ultimate extent of the economic benefit from naturalization depends on how many people take
advantage of the opportunity to naturalize, raising the question of the availability and effectiveness of programs promoting
Profiling the Eligible to Naturalize,
Center for the Study of
Immigrant Integration & Center for American Progress, November 24, 2014, 10 pp.
Authors: Manuel Pastor, Patrick Oakford
& Hared Sanchez
This study suggests that naturalization rates would improve substantially if fee waivers, currently available to
those earning below 150 percent of the poverty level, were also available to those earning between 150 percent and 250 percent of the poverty line. Of the estimated 8.7 million
legal permanent residents eligible to naturalize, 1.9 million fall within this income band. The current fee ($595 plus $85 biometric fee) poses a barrier to those of limited means, especially
Mexicans who tend to fall on the lower end of the income scale. While Mexican immigrants comprise 29 percent of all adults
eligible to naturalize, they comprise 40 percent of all adults eligible to naturalize in the band below 150 percent of the
poverty level, 37 percent within the 150 percent to 250 percent poverty band, and only 18 percent in the higher income group.
The researchers also examine the income composition of those who have naturalized in recent years and find a “distinct
bias toward higher income groups.” They also suggest that the kind of data analysis that they have undertaken in this
study would be extremely useful in developing strategies to improve naturalization rates in the United States, with special
attention to the plight of the working poor.
Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets! Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement,
MIT Press, 2014, 295 pp.
Author: Sasha Costanza-Chock
This study examines the role of "media
ecology" in the formation, organization, and development of the immigrant rights movement in the United States. In the
foreword, Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells describes the work as "social research at its best." He describes
the author as an "engaged academic" with a strong commitment to the cause of immigrant rights who uses his "investigative
imagination and theoretical capacity" to produce "an accurate assessment of the ways and means of the new
world in the making." Indeed, at the time of the immigrant rights marches of 2006, the author volunteered his time and
talent to strengthen the media capacity of the movement in southern California. In reviewing the achievements and limitations
of the immigrant rights movement since that time, the author argues that it is "both dangerous and wrong"
to suggest that "vertically structured movements" are the most effective organizing paradigm. Instead, he cites
numerous examples of how "horizontalism" has produced major gains and victories. He takes to task those funders
who are "pushing movement organizations away from horizontalist organizational logics and away from the norms of network
culture." He also cautions, that "digital media technologies cannot somehow be sprinkled on social movements to
produce new, improved mobilizations." Each chapter in the book explores a particular episode in the immigrant rights
movement from a media perspective. These include: the 2006 protests against the Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) culminating
in the historic "Day Without Immigrants" on May 1, 2006; the "MacArthur Park Melee" in 2007 when police
attacked demonstrators in L.A.; the DREAMer movement; and the Silicon Valley FWD.US organization.
The Changing Face of the Nation: How Hispanic and Asian Voters Could Reshape the Electorate
in Key States,
Partnership for a New American Economy, October, 2014,
The authors of this study ask: who will
replace the baby boomers in the American voting booth? As the older, largely white generation passes on, a major demographic shift will take place as 25.6 million Asian
and Hispanic voters succeed them and in the process reshape future U.S. presidential elections. There are more than 13.2 million
unregistered Hispanic and Asian voters in the United States, with strong concentrations in key presidential election states
like Texas and Florida. By 2020, the study finds, almost 4.2 million additional Hispanic and Asian residents will naturalize
and become eligible to vote and nearly 8.2 million Hispanic and Asian citizens will turn 18 years old. If Hispanic and Asian
voting patterns from the 2012 presidential election continue into future elections, the study concludes, many Republican states
will become competitive or begin to lean Democratic. The study points out that unless the Republican Party alters its position
on immigration reform, this demographic shift in favor of the Hispanic and Asian vote could have a detrimental impact on the
Party's chances of winning national elections in the future. (Robert S. Smith for The
ILC Public Education Institute)
Noncitizen Voting in New York City Municipal Elections as a Case Study in Immigrant Integration and Local Governance,
Journal of Migration and Human Security, 223 (August, 2014), 64 pp.
Despite making initial headway in the New York City Council, a measure to extend the franchise
in local elections to qualified non-citizens was blocked
in 2013 by the administration of former
Mayor Bloomberg out of concern for the measure's constitutionality and feasibility. The introduction of the New York is
in the New York State Legislature in 2014, which would grant state citizenship, including the right to vote
in state and local elections, to noncitizens who have lived in New York and paid taxes for at least three years, as well as
the decision of the new Mayor of New York Bill De Blasio to make municipal ID cards available to undocumented immigrants,
suggests that the question of municipal voting may soon be back on the agenda of the New York City Council. Although some
have argued that such a measure would constitute a restoration
of noncitizen voting rights in local elections, common
during the first century and a half of the nation's history, others, including the author of this article, take a more cautious
approach. She begins by providing a review of recent experiments with noncitizen suffrage in other parts of the United States,
with special attention to Tacoma Park (MD) and Portland (MA).
While agreeing that "powerful
reasons exist for allowing New York City to extend the suffrage to noncitizens in municipal elections," the author notes
that local officials must ensure that noncitizens do not inadvertently vote in federal elections, and thereby subject themselves
to prosecution and possible deportation for violating federal law. The author also looks at the question of whether New York
City can act without first securing the permission of the New York State legislature. There is sufficient ambiguity in state
law, she points out, to suggest the need for a citywide referendum on the subject. However, such a course of action is a risky
proposition and would have to be proceeded by a "well-orchestrated YES campaign."
Citizenship: A Wise Investment for Cities,USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, The Center for Popular Democracy, and The National Partnership
for New Americans, Summer, 2014, 9 pp.
This report "represents the first stage in what will be an ongoing
research effort" by Cities for Citizenship (C4C), a collaborative project co-chaired by the mayors of Chicago, Los Angeles,
and New York, to promote the naturalization of recent immigrants. Funded by Citi Community Development, C4C will help municipal
governments start or develop citizenship programs in other communities. This report quantifies the economic gains to
be realized by cities and regions by using Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York as test cases. Controlling for industry and
occupation and assuming that half the eligible population will naturalize over a period of 5 to 10 years, the researchers
report that the increased earnings of naturalized immigrants (estimated to be between 8 and 11 percent nationally) "will
lead to additional economic activity - or GDP - over ten years of between $2.2 and $4.8 billion in the city of New York, $1.6
and $2.8 billion in Los Angeles, and between $1.2 and $1.8 billion in Chicago." The report concludes with some recommendations
for cities interested in using naturalization as an economic development and community-building strategy.
Citizenship Matters: How Children of Immigrants Will Sway the Future of Politics,
Center for American Progress & Center for the Study
of Immigrant Integration, July, 2014, 25 pp.
Authors: Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins, Vanessa
Carter & Jared Sanchez
The authors of this study assess the long-term political consequences
of a failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. They argue that those who fear that a path to citizenship for the undocumented
will be a path to defeat for the Republican Party are misguided in their thinking. The path to citizenship in the Senate
bill would take at least 13 years, allowing both parties time to win over voters-to-be. Polling also indicates that close
to 20 percent of undocumented immigrants identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, while 45 percent would be open
to voting Republican if the Party played a leadership role in passing immigration reform. But the most compelling political
argument for action, according to the authors, is that millions of new citizens, both foreign-born and native-born, are linked
to the undocumented both through membership in "mixed status" families and through a shared commitment to immigration
reform. Both the citizen children of undocumented immigrants and the citizen children of all immigrants will form a pool of
15.4 million new voters by 2032. The number would rise to 19.3 million if the children of all Hispanic and Asian people are
counted. The authors conclude that the failure to pass immigration reform "is likely to entrench a second generation
against political actors perceived as holding up immigration reform progress."
Protecting Minority Voters: Our Work is Not Done,
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National
Commission on Voting Rights (NCVR), 2014, 255 pp.
Report Writer: Tova Wang
After conducting 25 regional or state-based hearings to gauge the extent of voting rights violations in states and
communities, the NCVR compiled this report to share its findings. The report concludes that "voting discrimination is
a frequent and ongoing problem..." NCVR faults the Supreme Court for finding the Section 5 preclearance provision
of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 to be unconstitutional and an "unnecessary vestige of a bygone era."
Section 5 provided for federal screening of all new voting practices in nine states and in parts of six others, where there
had been a history of discrimination. According to the report, "Section 5 in fact was targeting the states with
the worst records of recent, repeated voting discrimination..."
The report provides background information on the VRA, along with an analysis of how the VRA has been
used to block voting discrimination from 1995 to the present. There were: 171 successful Section 2 lawsuits, 113 Section
5 preclearance denials, and 48 successful lawsuits raising language assistance claims. The report also documents the adverse
consequences for minority communities of state laws and practices that restrict or interfere with access to the ballot.
The Latino Electorate by Immigrant Generation: The Rising Influence of Children
Center for American Progress, June 12, 2014, 9 pp.
Author: Patrick Oakford
2012 U.S. presidential election was a turning point in the perception of the power of the Latino vote, according to author
Patrick Oakford, who noted that Latinos were credited with helping President Barack Obama's reelection. In his paper "The
Latino Electorate by Immigrant Generation: The Rising Influence of Children of Immigrants," Oakford analyzes the Latino
electorate to gauge its impact on future elections. Oakford breaks down the Latino electorate into three groups: first-generation
immigrants (foreign-born), second-generation immigrants (children of foreign-born immigrants), and third-generation immigrants
(children of U.S.-born parents). He finds that immigrants and their children are a growing percentage of the Latino electorate
increasing from 49 percent in 1996 to 55 percent in 2012. Second-generation immigrants also are a growing share of the Latino
electorate: between the last and the next elections, around 3.3 million Latino citizens will turn 18. Crucially, according
to the findings, immigrants and their children are more likely to vote than third-generation immigrants. Consequently, as
their share of the electorate increases, Latino voter turn-out is likely to increase. Oakford suggests that this trend has
important implications for both the President and the House of Representatives, providing some incentive to deal with policy
matters that affect Latinos such as immigration reform. (Denzil Mohammed, The Immigrant Learning Center, Public
Latinos and the VRA: A Modern Fix for Modern-Day Discrimination,
MALDEF, NALEO, and NHLA, June, 2014, 17 pp.
Andrea Senteno & Erin Hustings
In June of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County,
Alabama v. Holder struck down the Section 4(b) coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a five-to-four
margin. Almost one-third of all eligible Latino voters in the U.S. live in the states and localities subject to the pre-Shelby
coverage formula. Asserting that "voting discrimination against Latinos is obvious, egregious, and far-reaching,"
the three organizations producing this report urge Congress to pass the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. To
demonstrate the extent to which Latino voters have been subject to voting rights discrimination both before and after the
Shelby decision, the report highlights examples of discriminatory laws and practices that were either
outlawed before Shelby or allowed to stand post-Shelby. The inventory of
such laws and practices covers the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Texas.
The New Immigration Contestation: Social Movements and Local Immigration Policy
Making in the United States, 2000-2011,
American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 119, No. 4 (January 2014), 51 pp.
Justin Peter Steil & Ion Bogdan Vasi
Throughout the past century, the policy debate on immigration has primarily
played out on the f
ederal level. However, during the first decade of the 21st
the debate has also seeped down to the local and state level, with some jurisdictions passing laws designed to drive out undocumented
immigrants and other jurisdictions enacting policies to promote the integration of immigrants regardless of their immigration
status. The authors of this essay refer to this increase in local immigration policy-making as the "new immigration contestation"
and they seek to explain the "mechanisms" and "structural forces" that drive some communities to pursue
"proactive" (or pro-immigrant) policies, whereas others take "reactive" (or anti-immigrant) paths. Rather
than focusing on political partisanship or local demographic change as the main driving forces, the authors examine the role
that local social movements have played in the spread of these policies. Their research covers 96 cities that passed anti-immigrant
policies and 97 cities that adopted pro-immigrant policies between 2000 and 2011, including in-depth case studies of the cities
of Hazleton (PA) and Fremont (NE) - anti-immigrant --- and Easton (PA) and Grand Island (NE) - pro-immigrant. The researchers
conclude that "pro-immigrant local associations matter for the passage of local pro-immigrant ordinances, but anti-immigrant
local associations are not significant for the passage of anti-immigrant policies...What is
for the passage of anti-immigrant policies are local social and demographic changes that local residents or political leaders
have framed as threats in ways that mirror the framing by national anti-immigrant organizations."
Performative Citizenship in the Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights Movements,
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper, March 16, 2014, 24 pp.
In this paper, Kathryn Abrams observes "that the discourse, the strategies, and the specific tactical
repertoires of the civil rights movement have become symbols and templates for the immigrant justice movement..." However,
there are also "performative dimensions" to both movements that may explain their power and effectiveness. One such
dimension is "self-narration, " which rejects the stereotypical notion of how a marginalized or exploited person
should interact with the rest of society. As undocumented young people, for example, "come out," they "reject
the fear, and the resulting posture of hiding, that governmental officials have sought to impose on them through anti-immigrant
legislation and enforcement efforts." Another performative dimension is "multifaceted civic engagement," where
people model the rights which they seek (and in the case of undocumented immigrants without any legal claim to assert those
rights). The "Know Your Rights" sessions sponsored by the ACLU in conjunction with immigrant rights organizations
are one example of this approach. When undocumented young people, i.e. the DREAMers, knocked on doors in Arizona trying
to convince Latino citizens to go to the polls to defeat anti-immigrant state legislators, they were engaged in the democratic
process, at the same time that they were trying to get more Latino citizens to the polls. The author concludes that both the
civil rights movement and the immigrant rights movement relied on the "alchemy" of claiming rights which may be
emergent or precarious as a means of securing their formal recognition."
Should Citizenship be for Sale?
European University Institute, January, 2014, 38 pp.
Editors: Ayelet Shachar & Rainer Baubock
The decision by the government of Malta to offer Maltese and European citizenship to foreigners
in exchange for an investment of 1,150,000 Euros has sparked considerable controversy. In this report, 12 scholars present
their views on the subject. They do so by responding to an introductory essay by Ayelet Shachar of the University of Toronto
law School, who finds these types of "cash for citizenship" programs to be "deeply problematic and objectionable."
In another essay in the collection, Rainer Bauböck, Co-Director of the European University Institute, reviews
the major arguments on both sides of the debate. He comments "that there is a broader trend toward relinking citizenship
acquisition to social class, which manifests itself, on the one hand, in offering citizenship to the rich and, on the other
hand, in income and knowledge tests for ordinary naturalizations of foreign residents."
Stepping Up: The Impact of the Newest Immigrant, Asian,
and Latino Voters,
Policy Center, September, 2013, 11 pp
Author: Rob Paral
both Democratic and Republican congressional districts, demographics shifts are taking place that will significantly alter
the composition of the electorates. Author Rob Parel points out that young Asian and Latino teenagers coming of age,
as well as newly naturalized immigrants, will have a major impact on the profile of newly eligible voters in upcoming elections.
Using data from the U.S. Census and the Department of Homeland Security, the paper finds that about 1.4 million newly naturalized
citizens and 1.8 million first-time Asian and Latino voters will participate in each two-year election cycle, and together
these groups will constitute 34 percent of all new eligible voters in the 2014 elections alone. Congressional districts across
the country but particularly in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico will see substantial
increases in the Asian and Latino composition of new voters. As a result, Paral suggests that representatives must be
cognizant of how their decisions today and in the future on matters such as comprehensive immigration reform will impact not
only the current electorate but also the electorate in the 2014 and future elections. (Denzil Mohammed)
Why don't they naturalize? Voices from the Dominican Community,
Latino Studies (2013), 11, 3,
Authors: Alan Hyde, Ray A. Mateo, & Bridgit Cusato-Rosa
Through interviews with 34 Dominican
"non-naturalizers" in New York and New Jersey, this study seeks to understand why Dominican immigrants have historically naturalized
at a low rate. It begins by reviewing the four general theories that have been proposed to explain naturalization rates: first,
demographic factors, e.g. age, education levels; second, political administrative theories, i.e., the ease or complexity of
naturalization procedures; third, economic incentive theories, i.e. immigrants weighing the costs and benefits of citizenship;
and fourth, psychological processes. Each of these theories has some explanatory value, but the authors are most interested
in analyzing the psychological factors at work. They reject the view that "Latin Americans don't naturalize because they
think they may not stay." Most Dominicans do not expect to return permanently to their country, and even the "sojourners"
have an incentive to naturalize so that they can come and go freely without jeopardizing their permanent resident status.
However, there may be problems with the very concept of citizenship. The authors quote Smith and Bakker (2008): "Neither
popular nor academic thought in this country has come to terms with the difference between being a land of immigrants and
being one node in a postnational network of diasporas." Too many immigrants, the authors contend, experience naturalization
as "wrenching assaults on their identity."
State Access to Federal Immigration Data Stirs New Controversy
in Debate over Voting Rights,
Policy Institute, September 12, 2013, 7 pp.
Authors: Musaffar Chishti
& Faye Hipsman
More and more states are seeking to use the electronic, fee-based program called SAVE (Systematic Alien
Verification for Entitlements) to purge their voter lists of non-citizens. However, this essay points out several problems
with the use of SAVE that undermine its usefulness. Firstly, SAVE was not intended to check voter eligibility; rather it was
designed to enable government agencies to determine a person's eligibility for public benefits and licenses. The SAVE program
is also unreliable. It checks a person's status by finding his or her Alien Registration Number or naturalization/citizenship
number but U.S.-born citizens are not included in the SAVE database. Data entry errors and outdated information also make
SAVE unreliable; a person's citizenship status may not be immediately updated to the SAVE system. Furthermore, the authors
note that state officials have not made a solid case that combating voter fraud is a compelling public goal. Of the 11.5 eligible
voters in Florida, for instance, 207 were found to be non-citizens. Nonetheless, the article points out that more than a dozen
more states are seeking to access SAVE, a trend that likely will continue. (Denzil Mohammed)
Lining Up: Ensuring Equal Access to the Right to Vote,
Advancement Project & the Lawyers' Committee for Civil
Rights Under Law, 2013, 58 pp.
Author: Gilda R. Daniels
by two organizations dedicated to preserving the right to vote for all Americans and written by Gilda R. Daniels, an Associate
Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, this report chronicles the 2011-2012 "war on voting" against
"people of color" and the efforts of the civil rights community, the courts, and voters themselves to push back
against this "unprecedented spate of suppressive voting laws." During this period, at least 180 restrictive
voting bills were introduced in 41 states. By October 2012, 16 new laws and two executive actions that were considered restrictive
had been adopted in 13 states. The Co-Director of the Advancement Project described these efforts as the "largest
legislative effort to rollback voting rights since the post-reconstruction era." Among the practices under examination
in the report are: restrictive voter ID laws, reductions in early voting, voter purges, and proof of citizenship laws.
In addition, the report discusses voter challenges, voter deception and intimidation, the impact of long lines, and the use
of provisional ballots. Rather than encouraging more eligible Americans to vote, these laws and practices, ostensibly
for the purpose of rooting out "unfounded claims of voter fraud," act to suppress voting among the 51 million potential
voters who are not registered. The report argues that it is imperative to "build a next-generation voting rights
movement" and concludes with a series of recommendations, including: updating the Voting Rights Act; repeal of
restrictive voter ID laws; creating a secure, online voter registration system; and creating early voting opportunities (including
weekends and evenings) in every state.
Report on the Evaluation of the Use of CitizenshipWorks in the New Americans Campaign,
Pro Bono Net & The Immigration Advocates Network, 2013, 39
Authors: Ken Smith, Kelly Thayer, & Kathy Garwold
The CitizenshipWorks (CW) website (http://www.citizenshipworks.org/) provides access to a variety of online tools to permit permanent residents to determine their eligibility for citizenship
and prepare their applications for citizenship. Pro Bono Net and the Immigration Advocates Network, the principal developers
of the website, commissioned this evaluation from The Resource for Great Programs to determine the benefits
derived by applicants, advocacy organizations, and legal service providers in using these online tools. Under the auspices
of the New Americans Campaign, these tools are being piloted with project partners and legal service organizations in eight
cities: Los Angeles and San Jose (CA), Houston and Dallas (TX), Detroit, Miami, New York City, and Charlotte (NC). A major
conclusion of the evaluation is that "CW has demonstrated that it can significantly increase efficiency and achieve higher
success rates over traditional group processing and individual assistance, offering the potential for dramatically increasing
the numbers of immigrants that legal services organizations can serve with existing resources of staff, volunteers, and funding."
The report also includes a section discussing major issues and lessons learned during the pilot phase of this project.
Urban Politics and the Assimilation of Immigrant Voters
William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 2012, 36 pp.
Author: Rick Su
What explains the "depressed"
or low voter turn-out among naturalized immigrants -- low not only compared to the native-born, but also compared to immigrant
groups in earlier periods of American history? According to Rick Su, most scholars focus on the legal and social characteristics
of today's immigrants. He instead looks at the political structure of America's cities and finds that there are fewer pay-offs
for immigrants in today's "fragmented" city. Indeed, voting may not necessarily be a measure of assimilation, especially
if apathy is a characteristic of voters in general. "If anything, it can be argued that immigrants are assimilating
America's newfound political apathy quite well by avoiding any political identification and staying away from the polls."
The bulk of the paper looks at immigrant interaction with local political systems during three periods of American history,
which he calls "the machine city, the reform city, and the fragmented city." In the current period, power is diffused
to independent authorities and regional entities, leaving fewer resources in the hands of urban administrations. By moving
to the suburbs (now where more than half the foreign-born live), "many immigrants have been able to find governments
with packages of policies and services that are better suited to their needs in a shorter time and with less effort than through
Overcoming Citizenship: Six Practical Steps for Overcoming the Hierarchy of Nationality
Rutgers School of Law, Research Paper Series, May 10, 2013, 20 pp.
Author: Alan Hyde
The thesis of this
paper, first delivered at a 2012 seminar in Italy, is that the concept of citizenship is antiquated and acts as a means
of denying rights to people all over the world. The author argues that, "the justification of inequality is the primary
contemporary social function of the concept of citizenship" and adds that "To a future generation, the justification
‘because he is a noncitizen' will sound...as problematic and troubling as the non-justification ‘because she is
black' or ‘because she is a Jew' or ‘because she is a woman' sound to us." The author traces the origins
of the concept to "subject-hood," the claim by absolute rulers to the fealty of all people born in their realms.
Despite the association of birthright citizenship with the 14thamendment to the Constitution, its true origins
date back to feudal rulers. "The juridical concept of citizen/subject thus has no necessary association with political
liberty or participation." In the modern world, citizenship enables us to divide people in entirely arbitrary ways, whether
in the workplace, or in schools. "Citizenship not only divides us one from another. It divides us from ourselves. Citizenship
abstracts a legal person from a body." The author suggests a number of ways to challenge the mystique of citizenship,
including "treat(ing) ‘citizenship' as a dirty word," strengthening international human rights protections,
"disaggregating" rights from citizenship, proliferating multiple citizenships, removing unrealistic tests of citizenship
based on "policing cultural identification," and treating most distinctions between citizens and noncitizens
as "literally ‘suspect.'" Finally, the paper analyzes reasons for low rates of citizenship acquisition by
immigrants in the United States, compared to countries like Canada and Australia. Using interviews with Dominican immigrants
as a data source, the author emphasizes the importance of psychological factors. Too many immigrants perceive naturalization
"as a wrenching assault on their identities."
Run Local: The New American Electorate and the 2013 Municipal Elections
The New American Leaders Project, March 6, 2013,
Authors: Tyler Reny & Sayu Bhojwani
This report argues that "elected officials from APIA, Latino, Arab American, and Caribbean American
communities (co-ethnics) are the best leaders for their communities." They bring an understanding of the experience and
problems of their communities to governance and have the power to mobilize their communities to participate in the electoral
process. Moreover, local elections are important training grounds and pipelines for leaders interested in advancing
to state and federal elective office. The report reviews a number of factors that can either inhibit or facilitate the emergence
of "descriptive representation," including the size of electoral districts (at-large seats tend to discriminate
against co-ethnic candidates), re-districting that does not "crack" concentrations of ethnic voters, and term limits.
Finally, the authors provide a list of 22 cities with large minority populations that are holding elections in 2013 and where
there are "exciting possibilities for new American candidates..."
Nurturing Naturalization: Could Lowering the Fee Help?
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and National Partnership for New Americans, February 2013, 21 pp.
report finds that the $680 naturalization fee has become a major barrier to applying for citizenship for many legal
permanent residents (LPRs), particularly low-income immigrants, who constitute approximately 52 percent of the eligible population.
The fee has risen dramatically over the past 20 years: from $95 in 1997 to $595 (plus a biometric fee of $85) in 2007.
Although earlier studies had suggested that the demand for citizenship services is not very price sensitive, this study draws
on new data from the Office of Immigration Statistics and the American Community Survey to show that "fee increases are
associated with a dramatic decline in the naturalization of less-educated (and likely lower income) immigrants, an increase
in the number of years immigrants wait to become citizens, and a change in the national origin of the naturalizing population,
in particular a relative reduction in those who were born in Mexico." The authors note that, despite the emergence of
private microloan programs to cover the cost of naturalization, "absolute fee reductions" or a change in the fee
structure would better encourage citizenship, which "is good for both the greater society at large and for immigrants
themselves." (Denzil Mohammed)
Rock the (NATURALIZED) Vote,
Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California, October,
2012, 29 pp.
This paper analyzes the size and voting patterns of the newly naturalized (since 2000) voting age
population in the United States. New York and New Jersey lead the country in the proportion of the voting age citizen population
who are newly naturalized: 7 percent in both states. However, significant numbers also exist in swing states such as
Florida (6 percent) and Nevada (5.1 percent). The authors suggest that the political leanings of this group "may be critical
in a tight electoral season," especially because there is some evidence that the newly naturalized may be more motivated
to vote "if they attain citizenship in a time period more charged by political tensions around immigration." An
interactive map on the Center's website enables ready retrieval of state and county-level data on the newly naturalized.
Voting Law Changes in 2012,
Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, 2011, 56
Since 2011, restrictive voting laws have been passed by state legislatures across the country.
Changes include laws requiring voters to show photo identification or provide proof of citizenship; laws curtailing the ability
of voters to vote early or via absentee ballot; laws limiting voter registration drives, and laws limiting the rights of those
with felony convictions to participate in the electoral process. This study examines each of these strategies in detail and
attempts to understand the local political dynamics that produced them. The report estimates that more than 5 million voters
could be deterred from voting because of the news laws, many in battleground states for the 2012 presidential election. According
to the authors, restrictive voting laws tend to be highly contested along party lines, with Republicans largely supporting
and Democrats largely opposing such laws. Although proof-of-citizenship laws are often justified as a way of preventing
non-citizens from voting, the cumulative effect of restrictive voting laws is to deter voting by college-age youth, minority,
low-income, voters with disabilities, and other disenfranchised groups -- leading opponents to argue that the new laws are
designed to suppress the Democratic vote.
A Report from California Civic Participation Funders, 2012, 12 pp.
group of 10 California funders interested in social justice issues -- called the "California Civic Participation
Funders" -- joined together in 2010 to promote the ability of grassroots organizations to reach out and engage underrepresented
groups of voters. The funders targeted four California counties considered "bellwethers of the state's political future": San
Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside. By "stepping out of their issue silos," they were able to pool
risk and learn from each other. Unlike other funder collaboratives, these foundations did not create a joint fund, but
rather made their own grant decisions. However, they did so "in a highly coordinated way, i.e. with an understanding
of the groups' broader goals and objectives, and of how their organizations' investments fit into a bigger puzzle." This
case study discusses the goals and methodology of the collaborative, which remains a work in progress.
Immigrant Integration: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Could
Better Assess Its Grant Program,
General Accounting Office (GAO), Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland
Security, House of Representatives, December, 2011, 41 pp.
In response to a request from Congress, this report
examines the "extent to which the federal government has programs in place to support and coordinate immigrant integration
activities." In order to reduce the study to manageable size, the study focuses on the programs of the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS), particularly the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program of the Office of Citizenship
(OoC), as well as other federal mechanisms to coordinate public and private efforts to promote immigrant integration. The
grant program -- OoC's largest single budget activity -- consumed $19.8 million of the $42.6 million available to OoC during
the three fiscal years ending in 2011. The report discusses some of the challenges associated with evaluating the program
and recommends that USCIS establish interim milestones for conducting internal and external evaluations of the grant program.
Reforming the Naturalization Process,
National Foundation for American Policy, Policy Brief, August, 2011, 19 pp.
This paper outlines a series of steps that could be taken by the Obama administration to improve access to naturalization.
The paper consists of a compilation of policy reform recommendations from four organizations: the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the National Immigration Forum, and the Immigration Policy Center; as
well as the views of two consulting immigration attorneys: Cyrus D. Mehta, and Gary Endelman. Among key recommendations
are: a reconsideration of the "continuous residence" requirement for naturalization to reflect the realities of
today's globalized world; simplification of the "complex" and "obscure" language in the application
form; restoration of off-site naturalization interviews at local community centers, especially important for immigrants with
disabilities who live in cities not served by USCIS field offices; and reducing the escalating cost of naturalization
brought about by the exclusive reliance on "user fees" to cover USCIS costs and the "taxation" of immigrants
to cover the cost of unrelated USCIS services, such as refugee processing.
The Role of Civil Society in EU Migration Policy: Perspectives on
the European Union's Engagement in its Neighborhood,Migration Policy institute and the European University Institute, June, 2011, 17 pp
As the European
Union seeks to stimulate the development of civil society institutions in North Africa, this report reminds us that EU policymakers
have not been consistent in promoting the development of these institutions in Europe. "Rhetorical commitments"
have not always been matched by tangible results on the ground. "Having a pro forma seat at the table," doesn't
always equate to real policy influence. This report makes the case for the active and meaningful involvement of migrant-serving
organizations in policy development and implementation. It also suggests specific strategies to make interactions productive
and useful to both governments and civil society organizations. Among the recommendations are "more centralized civil-society
representation," through the formation of organizational networks with common goals, and an "emphasis on the function
rather than the form of engagement."
U.S. Naturalizations: 2010
Department of Homeland Security, 2011, 4 pp.
This report presents information on the number and characteristics
of persons naturalizing during 2010. For the second year in a row, the number of new citizens declined over the previous year.
There were 17% fewer naturalizations in 2010 than in 2009. However, the number of new applicants for naturalization
increased by 25% in 2010 over the previous year, suggesting that new citizen numbers may rise in future years.
Benchmarks of Immigrant Civic Engagement,
Prepared for Carnegie Corporation of New York by Rob Paral and Associates, July,
2010, 42 pp.
This report contains a compilation of data on naturalization rates in the United States, including
state breakdowns and data on specific immigrant groups. For example, noncitizens are 56% of immigrant adults in the country
as a whole, but are a higher percentage in states like North Carolina (71%) and Texas (68%), and lower in states like New
York and New Jersey (both 49%). Lower rates are probably indicative of the greater age spread, and longer periods of
residence among immigrants in states that have functioned as long-time gateways. Despite these lower rates, New York and New
Jersey rank among the top five states in the number of green card holders eligible to naturalize. The report also examines
voter registration and voting rates for naturalized citizens and notes that 40% of naturalized adults in the U.S. are not
registered compared with 28% of the native-born, with wide variations among the states. The report concludes with a set of
recommendations for foundations interested in investing in naturalization and voter registration as "pillars of immigrant
Context Matters: Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement in Nine U.S. Cities,
Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, Mexico Institute, 2010, 65 pp.
Funded by a grant from the John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this applied research project examines the local factors that influence the nature
and extent of immigrant civic participation in selected communities in the United States. A jumping-off point for this
study is the spring 2006 immigrant mobilizations, described as "the largest (American) mass public protest on any issue, ever." The report pays particular attention to
the strength of local coalitions, the role of Spanish-language media, the support of local religious institutions, and
the role of unions. Separate reports are available for some of the cities studied in this project: Charlotte, Chicago, Fresno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Omaha, San Jose, Tucson, and Washington, D.C.
Official Language Proficiency and the Civic Participation of Immigrants,
Monica Boyd, Metropolis Language Matters Symposium,
October 22, 2009, 17 pp.
This paper attempts to find evidence for the common assumption that
lack of proficiency in host country language leads to low levels of civic participation. Using data from the 2002 Canadian
Ethnic Diversity Survey, which included questions about membership and frequency of participation in a wide variety of organizations,
including ethnic associations, as well as questions about "sense of belonging" to local, provincial, and national
polities, the author finds that, with the exception of ethnic or immigrant associations, immigrants with low levels of host
language proficiency have low levels of organizational participation, although this fact "cannot be equated with negative
feelings about belonging to Canada." Interestingly, participation in ethnic or immigrant associations, for those with
low levels of proficiency, increases with length of residence in Canada.
The Effects of Citizenship on Family Income and Poverty,
Briefing Paper, Economic Policy Institute, February 24, 2010, 12 pp.
that "the economic benefits of citizenship have been underexplored in our national discussion around immigration,"
this paper attempts to quantify the income gains associated with citizenship acquisition. Noting that adult citizen immigrants
in 2007 had a median family income of $57,823, 33.2% higher than the $38,600 median income of non-citizen adult immigrants,
and that the 20% poverty rate of the latter was more than double the 9% rate of the former, the author proceeds to control
for other demographic factors, such as levels of education and age, that may account for these differences. In the end, she
finds a significant correlation, lending support for "policy initiatives that create a path to citizenship, as such a
path can be a key factor in reducing poverty and opening the door to economic stability for a broad swath of immigrant families."
Community-Based Organizations and Immigrant Integration in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area,
The Urban Institute, November, 2009, 51 pp.
study examines the work of 533 immigrant-serving organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, classifying them by size, finances,
location, ethnic communities served, religious affiliation, and types of programs. The researchers analyze data from federal
financial disclosure forms and draw on interviews with 40 organizational leaders. Of particular interest is the role played
by these organizations in promoting immigrant integration. The appeal of these groups appears to rest on their
ability to provide a "safe environment" and to employ a "holistic approach" to service delivery.
As Asian and African community organizations are less well-developed than Hispanic ones, the authors discuss a number of factors
impeding the development of non-Hispanic organizations. The authors also emphasize the role of local government in stimulating
the growth of immigrant-serving organizations, noting a concentration of organizations in the District and inner suburbs,
where "immigrant-friendly" officials have steered resources to these organizations, but a scarcity of groups in the outer suburbs where the immigrant population has been soaring in recent
years, but where no such commitment from local government has been evident.
A Funders' Guide to the 2010 Census,
Integration Initiative, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), 2009, 23 pp.
for strategic philanthropic investment to maximize the participation of immigrants and other "hard-to-count" (HTC)
populations in the 2010 decennial census. The authors estimate that for each uncounted resident, the State of California will
lose ca.$11,400 over the next ten years. A 10% undercount will result in a 10-year loss for California of $42.4 billion. Although
this guide was produced specifically for California funders, the authors believe that the principles and strategies outlined
in the guide may prove useful and relevant to grantmakers in other states and regions.
Women Immigrants: Stewards
of the 21st Century Family,
New America Media, February 2009, 32 pp.
Noting that the story of migration is often depicted as "a masculine epic...(and) through
the Horatio Alger lens of self-discovery and reinvention," the authors of this report call attention to the special role
of women in the migration process. Women seem less interested in individual economic success, and more in holding the family
together and making a better life for their children. Based on 1,002 telephone interviews, conducted in August and September
of 2008, with a representative sample of the adult female population in the United States, the report also finds that women
"are changing the meaning of migration from economic to civic." Women appear to be the "catalysts for their
families becoming citizens of the United States." Other survey questions probe changes in family roles and responsibilities,
the prevalence of two-parent families, and experiences with discrimination. The report also finds a "substantial"
number of women working below their level of education and training.
Community Treasures: Recognizing the Contributions of Older Immigrants and Refugees,
Center for Intergenerational Learning, Temple University,
2008, 62 pp.
Based on field work and focus groups conducted
in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Orange County (CA), this report finds that the American concept of "volunteering"
is generally unfamiliar to older immigrants and refugees, but that the nature of their community involvement is rich and extensive,
although strongly influenced by cultural background. The report emphasizes the critical role of "community connectors"
in tapping into this reservoir of talent and leadership and contains case studies of five organizations that have been particularly
effective in working with elders.
Immigrant Civic Participation: A Challenge
for New Jersey and the Nation,
Program on Immigration and Democracy,
Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University, October 20, 2008, 20 pp.
This report provides a summary and detailed minutes of a half-day conference that brought together
researchers, community activists, and public officials to discuss research findings and promising practices in the area of
immigrant civic participation.The Forum featured presentations about the following model programs: the Coro Immigrant Civic
Leadership Program in New York City, the New Americans Initiative in Illinois, the New York Civic Participation Project, and
Project Voice of the American Friends Service Committee. The purpose of the forum was to develop recommendations for
presentation to the New Jersey Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigrant Policy.
Policy Center, October, 2008 (Updated 2010), 25 pp.
Defining "new Americans" as the total of
naturalized immigrants and post-1965 children of immigrants, this study emphasizes the growing importance of this segment
of the registered voter population, and in particular, their pivotal status in "battleground" states, such
as Colorado, Florida, and Indiana. At 15.1%, the percentage of new American registered voters in New Jersey in 2006 ranked
fourth in the nation.
Hometown Associations: An Untapped Resource for Immigrant Integration,
MPI Insight, Migration Policy Institute, July, 2008, 23 pp.
This report discusses the remarkable growth of hometown
associations (HTA's) within immigrant communities in the United States. Although often perceived by policy makers as performing
overseas development functions only, HTA's also play a useful role in promoting immigrant integration. The report suggests
a number of "small, well-crafted interventions" that policy-makers can make to harness the energy of HTA's and built
strong partnerships between HTA's, local service providers, and local governments.
The Atlantic Philanthropies, May, 2008, 16 pp.
This report argues that "funding advocacy
and advocates is the most direct route to supporting enduring social change for the poor, the disenfranchised and the most
vulnerable among us..." Prepared by a major foundation, the report reviews the components of effective advocacy
and some of the legal issues in the field. It includes examples of effective advocacy campaigns, including the effort
to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.
that "the Bush Administration has systematically made citizenship less accessible to hard working immigrants," this
report examines the consequences of the 610% increase in citizenship fees over the 10-year period ending in 2008. Since the
last fee increase in July, 2007, the number of citizenship applications dropped by 59%. The report concludes with a series
of recommendations, including pegging the application fee to the equivalent of one week's pay for a worker making the minimum
Pew Hispanic Center, March 28, 2007, 21 pp.
This report documents a rise in the
percentage of legal foreign-born persons in the United States who have become citizens, growing from 37% in 1990 to 52% in
2005. The report also shows that immigrants are not waiting as long as in the past to become naturalized. However, immigrants
with lower income levels are less likely to naturalize than those with higher incomes.
Institute for Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts (Boston), January,
2008, 27 pp.
The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the process of organizational formation within Asian
communities in the United States. Using data from federal Form 990, author Chi-Kan Richard Hung examines over 2000
organizations within the ten largest Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (CSMA's) in the United States, including
New York/New Jersey. The paper analyzes both pan-Asian and ethnic specific organizations but only those with annual revenue
in excess of $25,000. Organizations were grouped into four functional types. More than 50% of all organizations were established
during the period from 1991 to 2000.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, January, 2007, 192 pp.
Responding to the challenge
of integrating a record number of immigrants, The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), with support from the Carnegie
Corporation of New York, interviewed hundreds of experts and community representatives from around the country to determine
the resources, activities, and partnerships that would be required to naturalize millions of eligible immigrants. This report
summarizes their findings and recommendations.
New Voices at the Civic Table: How Six Human Service Organizations are Supporting the Civic Engagement
of Community Members,
Alliance for Children and Families, January, 2007, 33 pp.
This report discusses
six pilot projects undertaken in 2006 to demonstrate how human service organizations can make civic engagement "intrinsic
to their mission." The author finds fault with the old "self-help" model, because "self-sufficiency
requires people to develp the skills to represent their individual and
shared interests." Although only one
of the six projects focuses on immigrants, the report is useful in providing a framework for the analysis and evaluation
of civic engagement projects.Bridging Divides: The Role of Ethnic Community-Based Organizations in Refugee Integration,
Migration Policy Institute and International Rescue Committee, 2007, 72 pp.
by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, this study assesses the role of ethnic community-based organizations (ECBO's),
sometimes called refugee mutual assistance associations, in facilitating refugee resettlement and integration. The authors
conducted an in-depth examination of seven prototypical organizations around the country, interviewing staff members and clients,
analyzing organizational strengths and weaknesses, and providing recommendations to ECBO's, state and local governments, and
the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Immigrant-Led Organizers in Their Own Voices: Local Realities and Shared Visions,
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc (CLINIC), May, 2006, 33 pp.
the course of three year (2001-2004), with funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Catholic Campaign for
Human Development, CLINIC provided grants and technical assistance to 17 community-based organizations to examine the "birth,
development and maintenance of the organizing process among immigrants." With one exception, all participating organizations
were outside the Catholic agency network, including the one organization in New Jersey to participate in the project (Wind
of the Spirit). This report discusses successful immigrant leadership development strategies, as well as the partnerships
that nurtured effective organizing. The report also contains useful information on evaluating immigrant community organizing.
Civic Inequalities: Immigrant Volunteerism and Community Organizations in California,
Public Policy Institute of California, 2006, 165 pp.
As immigrants and their children constitute a
growing proportion of the population, their level of civic participation will have important consequences for the future of
American democracy. Through use of census data, ten focus groups and case studies in two cities, the authors of this
report survey the landscape of participation in the State of California from the "bottom up" and analyze resource
disparities between ethnic and mainstream organizations. The report recommends various strategies to engage immigrants in
American civic and political life.
Crossing Borders, Sharing Journeys: Effective Capacity building with Immigrant and Refugee
Fieldstone Alliance, 2006, 88 pp.
by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this report distills the best thinking and practices of 11 capacity building
organizations in the United States and Canada that came together as a learning and research community from 2004 to 2006. The
report also summarizes the work of each organization in stimulating the development or building the capacity of immigrant
and refugee led organizations (IRLOs).Integrating Civic Participation and Adult ESOL,
New England Literacy Resource Center/World Education, January, 2005, 14 pp.
This article outlines
an instructional approach that introduces adult English language learners to "democracy in action."
Since the federally-funded English Literacy/Civics program was first established in 2000, a number of educational providers
have built in a practical, "justice-oriented" focus into their curricula. These programs include a "substantive"
view of democracy along with the traditional "procedural" view. Lessons Learned about Civic Participation among Immigrants,
Association for the Study and Development of Community, September, 2002, 25 pp.
summarizes lessons learned from a project in the Washington, D.C., area to understand and promote civic participation among
immigrant communities. Seventeen immigrant leaders from diverse backgrounds participated in an 8-month learning circle.
The report discusses various dimensions of civic participation and gives concrete examples of how immigrant cultures
and social organization can either block or support civic participation.
Aliza Becker & Heide Spruck Wrigley, Citizenship Education in Illinois: What Works?,
Funded under a grant from the Illinois Dept. of Human Services to the Adult Learning Resource Center, August,
2000. 110 pp.
This report evaluates citizenship education services funded by the State of Illinois and
the Fund for Immigrants and Refugees from 1995 to 2000. Surveys and interviews were done with representatives of 39 funded
programs. The report describes Illinois' investment in citizenship education as a "model for the nation," not only
because of the size of the investment but also because of the strategic decision to use ethnic CBO's to deliver those services.