A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan

Last Updated

October 23, 2013

The United States is a nation of immigrants united by a common creed and shared values. With 37 million foreign born residents, the United States’ strength and vitality depends on the contributions of its newest members. However, the integration of a population of this magnitude and diversity cannot be assumed. The pressing policy question becomes: what can be done to promote the integration of this record number of immigrants? A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan proposes a national program to naturalize the eight million immigrants who – based on their years as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) – may qualify to naturalize, as well as the millions more who will become eligible in the near future.1 Citizenship is a significant marker of immigrant integration and a pre-condition to full membership in our constitutional democracy. As a practical matter, naturalization involves immigrants in a range of integration activities. Yet despite its benefits, the United States does surprisingly little to promote this process. In theory, we want eligible immigrants to naturalize, but in practice we do little to encourage or assist them.

A More Perfect Union: A National Citizenship Plan sets forth the resources, activities, and partnerships that would be required to naturalize as many eligible immigrants as possible. It calls for a national mobilization in support of citizenship, identifying the roles of government, immigrant service agencies, and other sectors of society in a coordinated plan. It describes a program that could serve as the linchpin of an emerging U.S. immigrant integration strategy.