Studies show Citizenship is an Economic Development Strategy

New Americans Campaign is a national network working to provide greater and more streamlined access to naturalization services for immigrants, helping legally qualified permanent residents take the critical step to becoming American citizens. Eight million people live, work, and pay taxes in this country and are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. New Americans Campaign works to remove the barriers these people face and help them gain the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of citizenship.  Through citizenship they contribute more fully to the vitality of our communities and our democracy as a whole.

Detroit’s New Americans Campaign is led by the International Institute of Metro Detroit, with support from Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC), Michigan United, Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, and South Asian American Voices for Impact. Detroit New Americans Campaign partners regularly offer free community workshops and walk-in clinics throughout the metro area for individuals interested in citizenship, as well as individual consultations.  Tuesday February 18th from 7-8PM in Dearborn, MIRC is hosting a Citizenship Information Fair/Forum to promote citizenship.  Representatives provide information to help immigrants understand the requirements and navigate the process of naturalization.

New America Media is hosting a roundtable discussion with Detroit ethnic media, immigrant advocacy organizations and recently naturalized citizens to discuss the role of ethnic media in the new citizenship campaign. US Citizenship: The Next Step in Immigrant Rights? An Ethnic Media Roundtable in the Detroit Area is Wednesday, February 19th, 11AM-1:30PM.  RSVP to Anthony Advincula at aadvincula@newamericamedia.org

Global Detroit supports increased citizenship for immigrants as an economic development strategy.  A recent report from the University of Southern California Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, Citizen gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy, shows that naturalized immigrants earnings are well above those of non-citizen immigrants (the study shows a rise of around 8 to 11 percent after naturalization).  The Migration Policy Institute’s The Economic Value of Citizenship for Immigrants in the United States demonstrates a meaningful citizenship premium: the family incomes of naturalized citizens are 15 percent higher than noncitizens.

Naturalized citizens also stay in the U.S. longer, have better English language abilities, and have more education. These factors contribute to a higher likelihood of investments in U.S.-specific skills, and better job matching to a wider range of jobs. Naturalized citizens have lower unemployment rates, are half as likely to live below the poverty line, and weathered the recent economic crisis more successfully than noncitizens.

If the 8.5 million Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) in the U.S. became citizens, it could bolster the economy, with potential aggregate earnings increase of $21 billion to $45 billion over a decade.  These numbers would have ripple effects for generations forward – naturalized citizens put money back into the economy, provide strength to communities, and make our regional economy more productive.

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