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.”