People keep voting with their feet by coming to America in search of a better life. And over time, the numbers really add up.
Last night’s large-scale naturalization ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center welcomed over 1,500 new citizens. The exact number was 1,509, with 344 of those from Somalia and 141 from Ethiopia. It was the largest naturalization event in Minnesota history.
Overall, Minnesota welcomed 11,044 new U.S. citizens through the naturalization process in fiscal year 2011. Nationally, the number of immigrants who became citizens during that year was over 690,000. The figures come from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
According to a spokesman for USCIS, Tim Counts, Minnesota has seen a steady increase in immigration over the past ten years. A comparison of the naturalization numbers is one indicator of this. The number of immigrants who became U.S. citizens through naturalization went up from 6,226 in 2003 to more than 11,000 in 2011.
In other words, the number of immigrants to Minnesota who became citizens nearly doubled in less than a decade.
To be sure, many people remain undocumented. For political reasons, the U.S. has not been able to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law to create broader paths to citizenship.
Often, however, there are still ways to move forward. The Deferred Action policy, which allows certain young immigrants to seek work permits or stay in school, is one example. It makes sense to discuss your circumstances with an immigration attorney to know what your adjustment of status options are.
Source: “Hundreds Become U.S. Citizens in Minnesota’s Largest Naturalization Ceremony,” KAAL-TV, Joy Lim Makrin, 9-6-12
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Minnesota immigration page.