U.S. green card holders come from all different parts of the world. However, there are some countries that have a particularly high number of individuals who have come to live here in the United States. Among these is Mexico. There are more lawful immigrants to the U.S. from Mexico than there are from any other individual country. And some areas of the U.S. have a particularly high number of Mexican immigrants. This includes Southern California.
Despite the large percentage of overall green card holders that Mexican immigrants make up, such immigrants actually have among the lowest likelihoods of becoming U.S. citizens of permanent residents. This is what a recent Pew Research Center study points to.
According to the study, in 2015, less than half (42 percent) of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. who had eligibility to pursue U.S. citizenship had pursued and received such citizenship. This is considerably lower than the percentage for all qualifying immigrants, which was 67 percent. It also puts Mexican immigrants near the bottom when it comes to U.S. citizenship rate.
Why is the U.S. citizenship rate so low among Mexican immigrants? Surveys have indicated that, while there is a high desire for such citizenship among this group, there are a variety of barriers Mexican immigrants report are keeping them from pursuing it. Such barriers include financial and language barriers.
Other factors some have posited are contributing this phenomenon include: a desire to not seem disloyal to their birth country among Mexican immigrants and economic and educational differences between Mexican immigrants and immigrants from other countries.
One wonders if upcoming years will see any major changes in U.S. citizenship rates among Mexican immigrants.
As this discussion underscores, there are challenges and potential barriers a permanent resident could face when it comes to becoming a U.S. citizen. This includes legal difficulties. When a green card holder is worried that challenges or barriers may keep them from becoming a U.S. citizen, they may find it very helpful to talk about their situation with an immigration lawyer. There may be options they have for overcoming the challenges and barriers. Fully understanding one’s options can be critical when deciding whether or not to pursue U.S. citizenship.
Source: The Press-Enterprise, “Why Mexican immigrants are among least likely to become U.S. citizens,” Alejandra Molina, June 30, 2017