According to a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics , in 2012, a total of 757,434 persons became naturalized citizens of the United States. The leading countries of birth of new citizens were Mexico (102,181), the Philippines (44,958), India (42,928), the Dominican Republic (33,351), and the People's Republic of China (31,868). The largest number of individuals who became naturalized lived in California (158,850), Florida (100,890), New York (93,584), and Texas (57,762).
Individuals naturalizing in 2012 spent a median of seven years in legal permanent resident (LPR) status before becoming citizens. Immigrants born in Africa spent the least amount of time in LPR status (5 years), followed by immigrants from Asia and South America (6 years), Europe (7 years), Oceania (8 years), and North America (10 years). The median years spent in LPR status for all persons naturalizing increased by one year from 2011 to 2012.
The naturalization process confers U.S. citizenship upon foreign citizens or nationals who have fulfilled the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). After naturalization, foreign-born citizens enjoy nearly all of the same benefits, rights, and responsibilities that the Constitution gives to native-born U.S. citizens, including the right to vote.
In our next article we will discuss some general information pertaining to the naturalization process.