Citizenship / Naturalization

Citizenship / Naturalization

The US Citizenship Act of 2021: What’s Inside and Who Could be Eligible for Immigration Relief

On January 20, 2021, President Biden announced the US Citizenship Act of 2021 memorializing his commitment to modernize the US immigration system. On February 18, 2021, Senator Bob Mendez and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez introduced the bill to the Senate and House (respectively). If passed, it would create the largest legalization program in US history. This page provides an overview of the act’s provisions.

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The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Program: Estimates of the Potentially Eligible

The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (“LRIF”) program is the first US legalization program – creating a path to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status – in many years. There is a significant risk that many eligible Liberians and their family members may not meet the application deadline due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and poor roll-out of the program. To highlight this concern, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has produced estimates – rounded to the nearest hundred – of the Liberian nationals who arrived in 2014 or earlier, and who are not naturalized US citizens or LPRs, and of their non-US citizen, non-LPR spouses and unmarried children who are also potentially eligible to adjust under LRIF.

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Statelessness in the United States: A Study to Estimate and Profile the US Stateless Population

In October 2017, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) initiated a study to map the stateless population in the United States. This study sought to:

  • Develop a methodology to estimate the US stateless population;
  • Provide provisional estimates and profiles of persons who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness in the United States;
  • Create a research methodology that encouraged stateless persons to come forward and join a growing network of persons committed to educating the public on and pursuing solutions to this problem; and
  • Establish an empirical basis for public and private stakeholders to develop services, programs, and policy interventions to prevent and reduce statelessness, and to safeguard the rights of stateless persons.

This report describes a unique methodology to produce estimates and set forth the characteristics of US residents who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness.

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Statelessness in the United States: A Study to Estimate and Profile the US Stateless Population

This report describes a unique methodology to produce estimates and set forth the characteristics of US residents who are potentially stateless or potentially at risk of statelessness. It also lifts up the voices and challenges of stateless persons, and outlines steps to reduce statelessness and to safeguard the rights of stateless persons in the United States.

As part of the study, CMS developed extensive, well-documented profiles of non-US citizen residents who  are  potentially stateless  or  potentially at  risk  of  statelessness.  It  then  used these profiles to query American Community Survey data in order to develop provisional estimates and determine the characteristics of these populations.

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DACA and the Supreme Court: How We Got to This Point, a Statistical Profile of Who Is Affected, and What the Future May Hold for DACA Beneficiaries

In June 2012, the Obama administration announced the establishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which sought to provide work authorization and a temporary reprieve from deportation to eligible undocumented young immigrants who had arrived in the United States as minors. Hundreds of thousands of youth applied for the program, which required providing extensive evidence of identity, age, residence, education, and good moral character. The program allowed its recipients to pursue higher education, to access more and better job opportunities, and to deepen their social ties in the United States. This paper provides a statistical portrait of DACA recipients based on administrative data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and estimates drawn from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) Census data. Beyond its statistical portrait, the paper provides testimonies from DACA recipients who recount how the program improved their lives and their concerns over its possible termination. It also recommends passage of legislation that would create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and programs and policies to support and empower young immigrants.

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Putting Americans First: A Statistical Case for Encouraging Rather than Impeding and Devaluing US Citizenship

This paper examines the ability of immigrants to integrate and to become full Americans. Naturalization has long been recognized as a fundamental step in that process and one that contributes to the nation’s strength, cohesion, and well-being. To illustrate the continued salience of citizenship, the paper compares selected characteristics of native-born citizens, naturalized citizens, legal noncitizens (most of them lawful permanent residents [LPRs]), and undocumented residents. It finds that the integration, success, and contributions of immigrants increase as they advance toward naturalization, and that naturalized citizens match or exceed the native-born by metrics such as a college education, self-employment, average personal income, and homeownership. The paper also explores a contradiction: that the administration’s “America first” ideology obscures a set of policies that impede the naturalization process, devalue US citizenship, and prioritize denaturalization. The paper documents many of the ways that the Trump administration has sought to revoke legal status, block access to permanent residence and naturalization, and deny the rights, entitlements, and benefits of citizenship to certain groups, particularly US citizen children with undocumented parents. It also offers estimates and profiles of the persons affected by these measures, and it rebuts myths that have buttressed the administration’s policies.

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DACA and the Supreme Court

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced the establishment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program opened a floodgate that allowed thousands of young Americans to pursue higher education, better job opportunities, and deepen their social ties in the country. DACA soon proved to be a program of national scope and importance with life-altering impact for its beneficiaries, their families and communities. This paper provides provides a demographic and social portrait of DACA recipients, which shows their deep level of integration and their extensive ties in US communities. For the report, CMS also interviewed several DACA recipients in the New York metro area on DACA’s impact in their lives and what its termination would entail.

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