In a well thought-out and expansive opinion piece published in the National Journal’s NextAmerica project, Eric Cohen of the ILRC laid out the drawbacks of the upcoming N-400 application change and talked about how the New Americans Campaign is ready to act.

Drawing on his 25 years of experience and on his vantage point as lead for the New Americans Campaign, Eric highlighted the many benefits of citizenship for new Americans and the reasons why our collaborative continues to innovate and create new pathways for the nation’s 8.8 million legal permanent residents wishing to become citizens:

The new N-400 form will add upward of 10 pages of questions to the application. And it could make the citizenship process more time-consuming for the 8.8 million permanent residents eligible for citizenship nationwide.

If higher hurdles turn people away, that would be a net loss for everyone.

On the whole, naturalized citizens fare better economically than their noncitizen counterparts. They earn between 50 percent and 70 percent more than noncitizens, have higher employment rates, and are half as likely to live below the poverty line.

A new citizen will see an average boost in individual earnings of 8 to 11 percent, directly tied to more job preparation, better matching between employers and employees, and a greater ability to switch jobs.

All of this translates to macroeconomic benefits as well, with the U.S. economy standing to grow by $21 billion to $45 billion over 10 years—depending on how aggressively we prioritize naturalization.

The New Americans Campaign has laid a strong foundation for encouraging citizenship now and in the future—no matter how the application evolves. Partnering with several dozen legal-service providers, faith-based organizations, businesses, foundations, and community leaders, the New Americans Campaign already has provided free or low-cost high-quality citizenship services to more than 80,000 people—saving them more than $67 million in legal fees and waivers in the process.

It’s a good read – check out the full piece at the National Journal.


February 4, 2014
Related: New Americans Campaign to Counteract Tougher Path to Citizenship