The National Partnership for New Americans believes America’s success is rooted in our ongoing commitment to welcoming and integrating newcomers into the fabric of our nation, and to upholding equality and opportunity as fundamental American values.
Central to this process is naturalization – the point at which immigrants apply and become full U.S. citizens. This is not an easy process. There is a substantial $680 application fee, a 21-page application, a background check, an exam in English on U.S. history and government, and finally an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. The immigrant raises their right hand, renounces allegiances to any other nation, and swears to defend the U.S. Constitution. At this point the immigrant becomes a full U.S. citizen, with all of the rights and responsibilities that we share in our democracy.
Immigrants who naturalize have made a decision to commit themselves to our nation. They have made the effort to learn English and to study our history and Constitution. Naturalized immigrants can vote, and studies show that their income increases between 8 – 11%.
In the United States there are currently 13.3 million Legal Permanent Residents, or “Green Card” holders, who have legal permission to live and work in the U.S., but who are not U.S. citizens. A full 8.8 million of these legal immigrants are eligible to apply to become U.S. citizens today. There are many barriers to naturalization, especially language and cost, and the overwhelming majority of these immigrants would like to become U.S. citizens. It is not good for immigrants or for our nation to have this huge number of immigrants who have not taken the final step to naturalize and assume the rights and responsibilities that we share in our democracy of equals.
Over the past four years NPNA and its member organizations have pursued a vigorous “Full Citizenship Campaign”, to promote naturalization among eligible immigrants and to remove the cost and bureaucratic barriers that prevent eligible immigrants from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens. We have partnered with municipalities, corporations, labor unions, the media, and elected officials at every level of government to promote naturalization. Naturalization is good for immigrants, their communities, and our nation.
Our efforts to promote naturalization have resulted in over 1,000,000 new U.S. citizens, with NPNA member organizations directly assisting 50,000 immigrants with their naturalization applications. This work has been is non-partisan and on-going, irrespective of election cycles. The NPNA “Full Citizenship Campaign” is privately funded and NPNA receives no funding from government at any level for this work.