US Immigration in Decline?

by Thailand Lawyer on July 12, 2011

Two recent news items have suggested a possible decline in US immigration: First, a USCIS advertising campaign focused on US naturalization and secondly a decline in Mexican immigration.

USCIS Advertising

It has come to our attention that the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently, and somewhat quietly, initiated a paid advertising campaign to promote the US naturalization process to lawful permanent residents in the United States. The campaign was launched in May, and is the first ad campaign ever to be employed by the USCIS in an attempt to raise awareness of the naturalization process for the millions of legal immigrants that may meet naturalization requirements. An estimated 7.9 million green card holders in the USA might be eligible to become naturalized citizens, and have not yet done so. Why are there so many legal immigrants in the US that are not applying to turn their green card into US citizenship status?

According to the USCIS, many immigrants may lack access to information about the naturalization process and the necessary materials, so this campaign aims at making the process more accessible.

It has also been reported by immigration agents that many people choose not to apply for citizenship because they fear that they do not have the English language skills necessary to apply, or perhaps don’t feel a strong urge to do so because they can already legally work with a green card. Others might deliberately choose not to apply, because they do not want to lose the citizenship privileges of their home country (some countries, such as China, do not allow dual citizenship), or be liable for US taxes (see FBAR new tax rules).

A reason some immigrants might decline to become naturalized is due to the$680 fee to file the necessary paperwork.  Congress has allotted a stunning $11 million to support projects aimed at assisting immigrants in integrating into American culture. Why has the USCIS decided to launch this massive marketing campaign in order to uirge more immigrants to become naturalized US citizens?  The official answer provided by USCIS is as follows:

“Citizenship is the common thread that connects us all as Americans. This initiative emphasizes the importance of citizenship—not only to immigrants and their families but also to our nation as a whole,” said Director Mayoral. “This effort marks a new milestone in USCIS’s outreach to lawful permanent residents.”

The true motivation of the USCIS is unknown at the current time. A desire for more filing fees by the USCIS has been proposed as one explanation for the ad campaign. Another more cynical explanation is that the USCIS is preparing for a major crackdown on permanent resident holders who are out of status. US Lawyers  in Thailand  have noticed that there are less business related visa applications than in the past.

Mexican Immigration in Decline

A long-term survey conducted by the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University actually indicates that interest in migrating to America from Mexico has significantly decreased for the first time in 60 years. Mexico is one of the largest contributors to immigrants in the USA, so it might be a bit of a shock to learn that the flow of immigrant workers is actually decreasing of late.

This might be due to a variety of reasons, including the dangerous route that migrants must take through the increasingly violent territory held by Mexican drug cartels to reach the US border. The downtrodden US economy might be another factor in the apparent decrease in migration. Another possibility that has been suggested is that Mexico isn’t quite as destitute as it once was. The younger generation sees more opportunity in education, and more Mexican youth are choosing to stay home than to risk traveling across the border in search of purported financial benefits in America. Advanced economic conditions and educational opportunities in Mexico have caused a decrease in desire and need to make the hazardous journey.

Perhaps the USA is simply no longer the attractive place it once was for immigrants seeking economic advancement and political freedom.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Corrine Sugue July 18, 2011 at 07:43

You are right, the number of US Visa Applications passed at present has decline than the number of applications passed in the past. There are several reasons for this and one of this reasons is the recession situation suffered by the people in the US and around the globe, right now.

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