One of the biggest issues surrounding immigration reform is whether or not to allow immigrants a path to citizenship. Many Republicans against the path to citizenship believe that the Democrats would offer a path to citizenship in order to guarantee millions of votes in future elections. However, existing data suggest otherwise.
The data shows that Mexican immigrants, who make up over half of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S., are less likely to try and become citizens than any other group. The data further shows that roughly one-third of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens have actually naturalized.
According to Pew Hispanic Center, this is the case not because Mexican immigrants are not interested, in fact approximately 90 percent who have not yet naturalized want too. The issue is the current hurdles necessary to cross over which are increasingly overwhelming.
Some of the obstacles are personal issues, such as, a lack of proficiency in English, financial and administrative barriers. The application fee alone is $680. Another issue mentioned, is the citizenship test required to demonstrate the applicants knowledge of government history has been said to be too difficult.
Pew describes several possible explanations for why with a present interest in naturalization are the numbers so low.
One reason is because Mexican immigrants keep close ties to their home country due to its close proximity.
Another reason is that Mexico did not allow its citizens to hold a dual citizenship until the late 1990’s so many Mexican immigrants did not want to lose their Mexican citizenship. In addition, many do not know that they now can hold a dual citizenship.
Secondly, the cost of seeking citizenship is not within reach for many immigrants. Since 2007 the cost has gone up increasingly due to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services doubling the fee.
Although many believe that the path of citizenship will be burdensome to the nations entitlement services it is not a guarantee that all immigrants will seek citizenship.
If you are someone interested in obtaining citizenship contact Atlanta Immigration law firm, the Shirazi Law Group to find out more about eligibility requirements and how we can help you facilitate this process.