By Manuel Pastor & Justin Scoggins
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Citizenship offers new Americans broader civic engagement opportunities and government benefits, but little publicized are the gains to both immigrants and the nation that come from this shift in status.
Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy makes this case, finding that citizenship, alone, can boost individual earnings by 8 to 11 percent, leading to a potential $21-45 billion increase in cumulative earnings over ten years that will have ripple effects on the national economy.
Given the mutual gains to immigrants and the nation, Citizen Gain identifies several barriers to citizenship and offers best practices to encourage naturalization. They include government lowering the fees for naturalization, community groups and banks partnering to offer microloans to ease the fees, businesses offering workplace English language courses, municipalities promoting citizenship, and more.
As advocates continue the long road towards immigrant integration, ensuring a clear roadmap to citizenship makes the most sense: it adds economic benefits to our nation. Citizen Gain is a reminder that new Americans are good for a new economy.