Immigrants who wish to apply for American citizenship have to go through the naturalization process. The naturalization process is a series of steps that an immigrant must take in order to be allowed full American citizenship.
American citizenship entails becoming a full member of American society and giving the individual the right to participate in any activity that an American born citizen can do. As illegal immigration in many aspects runs counter to the spirit of naturalization, the high frequency of success in naturalization should be emphasized to encourage legitimacy in living in the United States. The following are pertinent data related to the American naturalization process:
In 2006, statistics showed that the United States continuously accepts more immigrants as permanent residents than any other country in the world. In 2006, the number of immigrants in America totaled 38 million people.
The number of immigrants who apply for naturalization grows each year. In fact, in 2008, a new record was set: 1,046,539 immigrants underwent the naturalization process and achieved American citizenship. Of all the immigrants within the United States who underwent the naturalization process, the leading countries of origin were Mexico, India, and the Philippines.
All naturalization process forms are checked through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). American citizenship is harder than ever to gain since the September 11 attacks of 2001. With increased security demands due to terrorist attacks, an individual may have to go to greater lengths to achieve American citizenship.
Since statistics are often delayed in being fully compiled, the most comprehensive breakdown of naturalization statistics comes from the year 2003 and earlier. There were just over seven hundred thousand individuals who went through the naturalization process and received American citizenship in said year. More females were naturalized than men and the largest portion of those naturalized did so through an immediate relative that had already received American citizenship. The other ways individuals were naturalized, in descending order, were family-sponsored preferences, employment preferences, diversity programs, refugee and asylum status, and all other routes to citizenship.
Naturalization, because it involves prior acquisition of a green card, is often a fairly good barometer of legal immigration trends. Nonetheless, sometimes, full citizenship is not realized by an immigrant to the United States, who may be content to only remain a permanent resident or who may fail to reach this goal in light of a criminal offense. While absolute naturalization figures are still vital in their own right, as time goes on, more and more attention must be paid to the relationship between legal naturalization and illegal habitation of American territory.