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Legal immigrants encouraged to become naturalized citizens

Californians may be interested to learn about a recently announced push by Mexico to encourage legal immigrants from the country in the U.S. to go ahead and seek dual citizenship in both countries. The Mexican government has indicated it is encouraging legal immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens in order to empower themselves.

According to the Pew Research Center, 5.4 million Mexican immigrants in the U.S. were eligible to become U.S. citizens in 2013. The country has the largest number of legal immigrants in the country who are eligible. Many do not become U.S. citizens because they mistakenly believe they would need to give up their Mexican citizenship in order to do so.

Mexico's push to encourage legal Mexican immigrants to get U.S. citizenship comes in an environment in which politicians have been making toxic statements about Mexican immigrants. By encouraging those who are in the country legally and who are eligible to become naturalized, Mexico is hoping that the hugely important Hispanic voting block will become even more powerful. This would help to quell some of the anti-Hispanic sentiment coming from the political right.

When people become naturalized U.S. citizens, they are accorded all of the benefits that citizenship brings. They become eligible for elected office, to work in certain federal jobs and to vote, among other advantages. Mexico's statement makes it clear that it will not force those who become naturalized to give up their Mexican citizenship. People who have their permanent residence cards and who meet the eligibility requirements for naturalization may want to speak with an immigration and naturalization attorney. An attorney may help them to complete their petitions and prepare for the naturalization interview and language tests.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber