Impeding or Accelerating Assimilation?: Immigration Enforcement and Its Impact on Naturalization Patterns

Author: 
Mary J. Lopez & Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
Date of Publication: 
July, 2019
Source Organization: 
Other

Naturalization bestows economic benefits to immigrants, their families, and communities through greater access to employment opportunities, higher earnings, and homeownership. It is the cornerstone of immigrant assimilation in the United  States. Yet fewer than 720,000 of the estimated 8.5 million legal permanent residents eligible to naturalize do so on a yearly basis. Using data from the 2008–2016 American Community Survey, we analyze how the expansion of interior immigration enforcement affects naturalization patterns. We find that the intensification of interior enforcement curtails naturalization and, among those choosing to naturalize, delays it. Understanding how immigration policy influences naturalization decisions is important given its crucial role in migrant assimilation and its documented benefits.

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Citation: 

Lopez, M. J. & Amuedo-Dorantes, C. (2019). Impeding or Accelerating Assimilation?: Immigration Enforcement and Its Impact on Naturalization Patterns [Working paper 2019.010]. The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. Retrieved from https://www.growthopportunity.org/archives/2019/working-paper-2019.010.pdf

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