By Manuel Pastor, Patrick Oakford, and Jared Sanchez
USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) & Center for American Progress (CAP)
Research Commissioned by the National Partnership for New Americans
Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).
Recent research has suggested that the high fees to naturalize may serve as an impediment to Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) seeking citizenship (Pastor et al. 2013). That research has been based on observing responses over time to increases in the fee (particularly to the differential between the costs to naturalize and the costs to renew a “green card”) and seeing how that affects both the level and composition of those choosing to naturalize in any given year. In general, those results square with the notion of price sensitivity: the share of LPRs with less education (and likely less income) tends to fall dramatically when the fees go up as does the share of Mexican-origin LPRs choosing to make the transition to citizenship.
To understand what fee changes might mean going forward, it would be useful to have a more detailed profile of those eligible to naturalize, including by income, education and English language ability. Unfortunately, this information is not readily available in the data maintained by the Office of Immigration Statistics which essentially relies on broad flows to calculate the number of Legal permanent residents and the share of those eligible to naturalize. This memo seeks to address that gap by attempting to simulate the LPR population with data in the 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) that can offer a more detailed picture.
Read our other publications by research area
Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice
Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.
Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity
In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.
Social Movements & Governing Power
ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.
In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).
The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.