Profiling the Eligible to Naturalize

Manuel Pastor, Patrick Oakford & Jared Sanchez
Date of Publication: 
November, 2014
Source Organization: 
Center for American Progress

Profiling the eligible to naturalize suggests that naturalization rates would improve substantially if fee waivers, currently available to those earning below 150 percent of the poverty level, were also available to those earning between 150 percent and 250 percent of the poverty line.  

Of the estimated 8.7 million legal permanent residents eligible to naturalize, 1.9 million fall within this income band. The current fee ($595 plus $85 biometric fee) poses a barrier to those of limited means, especially Mexicans who tend to fall on the lower end of the income scale. The researchers also examine the income composition of those who have naturalized in recent years and find a “distinct bias toward higher income groups.” They also suggest that the kind of data analysis that they have undertaken in this study would be extremely useful in developing strategies to improve naturalization rates in the United States, with special attention to the plight of the working poor. (Abstract courtesy of Dr. Nicholas V. Montalto)

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Pastor, M., Oakford, P., & Sanchez, H. (2014).  Profiling the Eligible to Naturalize. Center for American Progress & Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration: California: LA. Available at: