This country was born because people who lived here wanted the right to vote and decide their own destiny.
I became a U.S. citizen in 2006 and voted in my first presidential election in 2008. I was thrilled to have that right to say who I wanted to be President of the United States.
I also love to dig around for esoteric information. It's an election year (in case you didn't already know that) so naturalization is a hot topic because only U.S. citizens can vote.
Today's interesting tid bits come from the Immigration Policy Center's report called "New Americans in Wisconsin."
- There are 245,920 immigrants living in Wisconsin
- 40.3% of immigrants living in Wisconsin are naturalized citizens
If 40.3% of immigrants in Wisconsin are naturalized, that means 59.7% or 146,814 are not U.S. citizens. Some are not eligible for citizenship because they have not had their green cards long enough. But there are a lot of people who have had a green card long enough and have not applied for citizenship.
USCIS estimates that 2.7 million people became LPRs through the 1986 amnesty. Most of them became LPRs between 1990-1993, which means a lot have been LPRs for 20+ years. Most of them would have been 20 years old or more in 1986, which means a significant number are now over age 50. At the end of 2009 though, only 1.1 million out of 2.7 million had become U.S. citizens. That's a naturalization rate of 41%. Within the Mexican community (and the majority of LPRs from the 1986 amnesty are Mexican), the naturalization rate is just 28%.
The biggest obstacle to naturalization for many immigrants, especially in the Hispanic community, is fear their English is not strong enough to pass the English test. But once someone reaches age 50 and has been an LPR for at least 20 years, then they no longer have to pass an English test and they can do the civics test in their own language!
Imagine that half the immigrants in Wisconsin who are not already U.S. citizens are eligible to naturalize. That's 73,407 people. If just half chose to naturalize this year, that would be 36,703 new voters.
Immigrants in Wisconsin tend to cluster in certain parts of the state. In certain counties, some of which have significant immigrant populations, the gap between the winning candidate and the second place candidate is 5,000 to 7,000. In other words, if 36,703 LPRs in Wisconsin became US citizens this year, it could change the outcome of this year's election in some counties.
This presidential election is important. There is a terrible polarization in politics that is alienating many people and making some think they just won't bother to vote. Yet that is precisely why everyone who can vote, should vote. And why as many eligible immigrants as possible should choose 2012 as the year to become a US citizen. Because otherwise, a vocal, politically active minority will decide the destiny of this nation. That is dangerous. That is the equivalent of taxation without representation, the very reason why the U.S. was first created.
Because this election is so important, I am giving a 50% discount on my fees for helping people become US citizens. This discount will be available from February 2, 2012 until April 30, 2012. People who file applications by April 30, 2012 stand a good chance of being sworn in as U.S. citizens in time for the elections in November.
Not everyone who wants to become a U.S. citizen can do so safely, so call today to schedule for a consultation. 414-964-1900. Let this be the election where your voice is heard and your vote is counted.