Putting Americans First: A Statistical Case for Encouraging Rather than Impeding and Devaluing US Citizenship

Donald Kerwin and Robert Warren
Date of Publication: 
December, 2019
Source Organization: 
Center for Migration Studies

This paper provides statistical evidence showing that as immigrants proceed through statuses from undocumented to citizenship, their income, educational levels, homeownership rates and other metrics of integration come to equal or exceed the native-born. The authors argue that it is in the interests of the U.S. to encourage full citizenship. The Trump administration, however, is discouraging this progression, by implementing policies that: make it difficult or impossible for the undocumented to adjust status; create barriers to legal immigration, such as the president’s “proclamation” that prospective immigrants be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entry; and slow the processing of a range of immigration benefits while raising fees and making it more difficult to obtain a fee waiver. Going beyond that, the authors argue that the Trump administration is devaluing citizenship for native-born children of immigrants in mixed-status families, some of whom may be forced to leave the U.S. with a parent who has been deported. The administration is also making citizenship less secure with a major effort to review the files of 700,000 naturalized immigrants for possible fraud or mistakes in the application process. The authors conclude with a set of recommendations for the administration and Congress to encourage, rather than discourage, the integration and citizenship of immigrants in the U.S. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Consulting)

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Kerwin, D., & Warren, R. (2019). Putting Americans first: A statistical case for encouraging rather than impeding and devaluing US citizenship. Journal on Migration and Human Security (7). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/2331502419894286