U.S. Naturalization Policy [January 16, 2014]   [open pdf - 535KB]

"Naturalization is the process that grants U.S. citizenship to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who fulfill requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In general, U.S. immigration policy gives all LPRs the opportunity to naturalize, and doing so is a voluntary act. LPRs in most cases must have resided continuously in the United States for five years, show they possess good moral character, demonstrate English competency, and pass a U.S. government and history examination as part of their naturalization interview. The INA waives some of these requirements for applicants over age 50 with 20 years of U.S. residency, those with mental or physical disabilities, and those who have served in the U.S. military. […] Several issues for Congress center on facilitating naturalization. Immigrant advocacy organizations contend that the current level of naturalization fees discourages immigrants from seeking U.S. citizenship. Other immigration policy observers argue that current fees recover the full cost of a process that is intended to be self-financing. Some in Congress have repeatedly expressed interest in facilitating language and civics instruction as a means to promote naturalization. Others argue that English language proficiency as well as civics education is the responsibility of immigrants and not the federal government. Recent efforts have focused on further streamlining and expediting naturalizations for military personnel and in providing immigration benefits for their relatives. Proposals have also been introduced that would revise the naturalization oath to place greater emphasis on allegiance to the United States."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43366
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