Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon foreign citizens or nationals after fulfilling the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). After naturalization, foreign-born citizens enjoy nearly all the same benefits, rights and responsibilities that the Constitution gives to native-born U.S. citizens, including the right to vote. This Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report (PDF) presents information on the number and characteristics of foreign nationals aged 18 years and over who were naturalized during 2011.
Data were obtained from administrative records of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. These records consist of information from applications for naturalization.
In 2011, the total number of persons naturalizing was 694,193. The leading countries of birth of new citizens were Mexico (94,783), India (45,985), the Philippines (42,520), the People’s Republic of China (32,864), and Colombia (22,693). The largest number of persons naturalizing lived in California (151,183), Florida (87,309), and New York (76,603).
Unauthorized Immigrants: 11.5 Million
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States changed little between 2010 and 2011, according to new estimates by the Department of Homeland Security. As of January 2011, an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants were in the country, about the same as the 11.6 million in January 2010 (this figure has been revised upward from 10.8 million based on 2010 census weights). The number of unauthorized immigrants grew 36 percent between 2000 and 2011, from 8,460,000 to 11,510,000.
But the Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less (PDF)
The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.
The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.