Despite the benefits of U.S. citizenship, which range from the right to vote in national elections and run for public office, access to certain public-sector jobs and the ability to petition to bring family members more quickly to the United States, naturalization rates are lower in the U.S. than most other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, slightly more than 40 percent of the 40 million immigrants in the United States held U.S. citizenship in 2010. By comparison, 79 percent of immigrants in Canada and 68 percent in Australia were naturalized.
More than 8 million legal immigrants, representing about two-thirds of all legal permanent residents in the United States, are eligible to apply for naturalization but have not done so, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
“Some of the key barriers to naturalization include limited English proficiency and the $680 cost to apply, which is higher than in many other leading immigrant destinations,” said Michael Fix, MPI’s senior vice president and director of studies.
Which is one reason that LI3 raises funds to help people apply for citizenship.