This Spotlight seeks to do so, providing some of the most frequently used current and historical facts and figures in easily accessible fashion. For example:
Which countries are the main sources for immigration to the United States? How many immigrants come each year? How many are already here? How many became US citizens last year? How many children live in immigrant families? How large are illegal immigration flows? Do immigrants have health insurance? How many immigrants live in poverty? How many are eligible to vote?
If current trends continue, the federal government will approve nearly 18,000 more applications for citizenship this year than it did in 2010, according to data recently posted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency is also likely to deny about 3,300 fewer.
During the 2010 fiscal year, the government approved about 619,000 of what it calls the N-400, its application for naturalization. That total includes about 9,800 military applications. Authorities denied about 57,000, including 750 military applications. This year, the government is on pace to approve about 637,000 and deny about 53,700.
The trends at Texas field offices follow those seen nationwide. In 2010, the field offices in Dallas, El Paso, Harlingen, Houston and San Antonio collectively approved about 48,900 applications and denied 4,610. Through April 2011 — seven months of the current fiscal year — the Texas offices have approved about 30,000 and denied about 2,500.
The data also shows that field offices in Texas border cities have far fewer applicants than those in the middle of the state. So far this year, the El Paso and Harlingen field offices have received about 2,300 and 1,970 applications, respectively. That’s compared to 11,550 in Dallas, about 12,900 in Houston and 5,700 in San Antonio.
The approvals and denials both fall far short of 2009 figures, however, when the agency approved about 742,000 applications and denied about 110,000.
I have seen two families recently who have family members who have been legal permanent residents (LPRs) since they were children. They both were being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) because of drug charges they plead guilty to as young adults.
One case had a happy ending, the other is still a nightmare. The difference in the cases? The father of one of the LPRs naturalized when she was under 18, and she was automatically a U.S. Citizen. We were able to have the I.C.E. hold dropped and are pursuing a Certificate of Citizenship.
In the other case, the young LPR is in Immigration detention without the ability to bond out while he is waiting to see an Immigration Judge. Unless he is able to have the drug case vacated, he will be deported and the Immigration Judge will not be able to consider his rehabilitation, that he is married to a U.S. Citizen, his involvement in his community or the fact that he no longer has connections with his country of birth.