New Report Calculates Benefit of Citizenship to Cities

In conjunction with the launch of the Cities for Citizenship initiative, a new report was released on September 17 that touts the benefit of naturalization to America’s cities. The report, released by the National Partnership for New Americans, the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California, and the Center for Popular Democracy, calculates the benefit of naturalization to the earnings of immigrants living in the three cities whose mayors lead the Cities for Citizenship: Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. It also calculates the resulting economic benefit for those three cities.

The report looks at various scenarios in which the number of immigrants becoming citizens annually would be increased over current levels. It then projects the results over a period of five, seven and ten years.

For example, for New York, the additional earnings that the new citizens would experience after naturalizing would be from $1.8 billion to $4.1 billion, in total, over a period of 10 years. This would boost New York’s economy by an estimated $2.2 billion to $4.8 billion over 10 year, generating additional taxes of $268 million to $596 million.

Los Angeles and Chicago would similarly benefit.

Leaders in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago understand the benefits of naturalization to their cities. They have established various programs to help immigrants become citizens—briefly discussed in the report. Los Angeles, in partnership with USCIS, provides citizenship information and classes in its public libraries. New York has its NYCitizenship program, which connects immigrants with legal and financial assistance to help them apply for citizenship. For the past six years, Chicago’s New Americans Initiative has helped 90,000 immigrants become citizens.

The report, the first in an ongoing research effort by Cities for Citizenship, contains a set of recommendations that cities might follow to boost the rate at which immigrants are becoming citizens. It can be obtained here.

Posted on September 25, 2014

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More