As Numbers Rise, Experts Discuss Citizenship among Asian-American Immigrants

Amid news of a historic shift in migration patterns from China and India, national and local leaders joined a press call this week to talk about citizenship assistance and opportunities among Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants.

Naturalization rates are comparatively high in AAPI communities.

“Of all immigrants in the United States, 47 percent are U.S. citizens by naturalization. Of all Asian immigrants, 59 percent are naturalized,” said Jeanne Batalova, Senior Policy Analyst with the Migration Policy Institute.

Other speakers discussed the challenges for AAPI communities to achieve citizenship, the role of the New Americans Campaign in facilitating the naturalization process, and the benefits of citizenship.

“Naturalized citizens earn more than their noncitizen counterparts, and they’re less likely to be unemployed,” said Jannette Diep, Executive Director of Boat People SOS. “Citizenship alone can boost individual earning by 8 to 11 percent.”

Newly naturalized citizens also shared their stories.

“I am very proud to be a U.S. citizen,” said Ngoc Kim Lam of Houston, a naturalized American citizen from Vietnam. “There are more opportunities here and my life is better than before.”

The call was hosted by the New Americans Campaign, in collaboration with New America Media and the National Immigration Forum.

For a recording of the call, please click here. A full report is also available from New American Media.

Posted on May 29, 2015

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