Citizenship / Naturalization

Citizenship / Naturalization

New from IMR: Migration Outcomes, Destination Preferences, and Naturalization

The Summer 2021 edition of the International Migration Review (IMR) is now available online and in print through paid or institutional subscription. This edition is thematically sorted into four sections. The first section has articles about migration outcomes, health, and work. The second section discusses onward migration, destination preferences, and (im)mobility. The third section is about legal status, naturalization, and resiliency. The fourth section examines refugee policies, public opinion, and crisis. Lastly, this edition includes four book reviews, which are free to access.

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The Health Insurance Gap in New York City: Promoting Citizenship for a Healthier Tomorrow

About 8 percent of New York City’s 8.4 million residents do not have health insurance. However, the percentages of New Yorkers without insurance vary by legal status. In New York City, 47 percent of undocumented people do not have health insurance, compared to 12.6 percent of legal noncitizens, 6.1 percent of naturalized citizens, and 4.8 percent of native-born citizens. For immigrants, advancing to more secure and permanent legal statuses is highly correlated with having health insurance.

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Making Citizenship an Organizing Principle of the US Immigration System

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 US immigration system and its expectation for new Americans. It comes at a historic inflection point, following the chaotic departure of one of the most nativist administrations in US history and in the early months of a new administration whose executive orders, administrative actions, and legislative proposals augur an entirely different view of immigrants and immigration.

The paper examines 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, it 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.

The paper endorses the provisions of the US Citizenship Act that would place undocumented and temporary residents on a path to permanent residence and citizenship, would reduce
family- and employment-based visa backlogs, and would eliminate disincentives and barriers to permanent residence. It supports the Biden-Harris administration’s early executive actions and proposes additional measures to increase access to permanent residence and naturalization. It also endorses and seeks to inform the administration’s plan to improve and expedite the naturalization process and to promote naturalization.

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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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