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Our Immigration Services and the Impact of Naturalization

For last year’s fiscal year, CCFW served 313 legal permanent residents, 90% of whom passed the naturalization test. Additionally, Immigration Consultation Services has filed 338 N-400 naturalization applications and conducted over 370 screenings for eligibility for clients representing 45 different countries of origin with an approval rate of over 90%.

We talk a lot about ending poverty. So how does this translate to the immigrant populations we serve?

Using the most recent date from the U.S. Census and the Office of Immigration Statistics, Citizen Gain estimates:

     – An average of 8-11% boost in individual earnings with citizenship, rising with more time as a citizen

     – The potential for a $21 to $45 billion increase in the cumulative earnings of immigrants over 10 years

     – An even larger impact on GDP considering the secondary effects of higher incomes on spending and demand.

Naturalized immigrants differ in educational levels, language ability, and several other factors. But research suggests that there is an independent effect of citizenship: with citizenship comes more U.S.-specific investments in job preparation, better matching between employers and employees, and an enhanced ability to shift between jobs.

A Window into the Future…

“Using American Community Survey data for 21 cities, we find that if the immigrants who are eligible for naturalization became citizens, their earnings would increase by 8.9 percent, and combined earnings for the 21 cities would increase $5.7 billion. Federal, state, and city tax revenue would increase $2.0 billion. Expenditures in government benefits would decline $34 million in New York City and increase $4 million in San Francisco. With an additional $789 million in taxes for New York City and $90 million for San Francisco, the net fiscal impact of naturalization on these two cities is overwhelmingly positive.” (The Economic Impact of Naturalization on Immigrants and Cities; Maria E. Enchautegui & Linda Giannarelli;  December 9, 2015; available here).

We are proud to count this among our ninth consecutive year receiving a grant from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which allows us to provide services for people naturalizing, meaning Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) becoming US Citizens. It is a crucial part of how we end poverty.