Both at the federal and state levels, tax credits have proved effective policy instruments to combat poverty, and they are at the heart of President Biden’s massive initiative on childhood poverty. However, about one of every five children suffering poverty in the United States has an unauthorized immigrant parent and thus little or no access to tax credits. That is nearly two million children, and 85 percent of them are US citizens. Achieving historic reductions in childhood poverty thus will be impossible without remedying the eligibility exclusions and bureaucratic impediments that unauthorized immigrants face in the US tax 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.
The Spring 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 three sections. The first has articles about immigrant integration, civic engagement, and institutions. The second discusses immigration enforcement, securitization, and social dynamics. The third examines migration across time, focusing on settlement, mobility, and family.
Conference Adjournment & Moderated Discussion With Conference Participants: Ideas for Strengthening the Catholic Church’s Work With Immigrants and Closing Reflections
Session V: Reflections on the Role of Catholic Colleges and Universities On Immigrant Integration and the Challenges They Face in their Service to Immigrants
Session IV: Bringing Research to Bear on the Needs of Catholic Institutions, and the Migrant Populations They Serve
Session III: Addressing the Legal Obstacles to Immigrant Integration, Protection and Defense
Session II: Working Through Cultural Obstacles to Immigrant Integration and Empowerment: Understanding Differences in Attitudes Toward Migrants in North America and Europe
Session I: Community Sponsorship Models for Immigrant Integration in Europe and North America: Challenges and Opportunities
The final panel of the conference reflected on the interrelated themes of migration, protection, and race in the context of Pope Francis’ call to Catholics to go to the peripheries.