Why reject US citizenship?
Some eligible immigrants point to language, costs, return plans
An Associated Press story today asks several immigrants why they have chosen NOT to naturalize. Their stories make an interesting read:
Here's a summary:
More than an estimated 8.5 million immigrants living in the U.S. were eligible for citizenship in 2012. Yet fewer than 800,000 took the leap, according to the latest Department of Homeland Security numbers.
If statistics hold, nearly 60 percent of the remainder eventually will — a percentage that has been slowly rising.
Still, there are many holdouts. Immigrants give a variety of explanations as to why, most commonly:
— The cost of the process that most of the time takes seven years. (Note from Lynne: this is factually incorrect. It normally takes FIVE years.) It usually costs $680, though fee waivers are available for some, and the cost is often multiplied by several family members;
— A lack of English. Immigrants must demonstrate basic knowledge of U.S. history and government and pass an English proficiency language exam, unless they are over 50, and then certain waivers may apply.
— The potential loss of benefits from their native land, such as the ability to freely travel and work across Europe.
Still others say they simply don't see the need.