News / USA

    US Issues 1 Million Green Cards, Naturalizes 757,000 in 2012

    Zoltan Sznorfi, left, originally from Hungary, Benjamin Njoku, center, originally from Nigeria, and Keyan Chen, right, originally from China wait for the naturalization ceremony at historic Federal Hall to start, Friday, March 22, 2013 in New York.
    Zoltan Sznorfi, left, originally from Hungary, Benjamin Njoku, center, originally from Nigeria, and Keyan Chen, right, originally from China wait for the naturalization ceremony at historic Federal Hall to start, Friday, March 22, 2013 in New York.
    Nearly a million people became U.S. citizens last year, and just over a million became legal permanent residents, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    The data shows the numbers of new “green card” holders and naturalizations, the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, have been fairly steady over the past few years, with a modest bump in naturalizations last year.

    DHS: U.S. Naturalizations 1907-2012DHS: U.S. Naturalizations 1907-2012
    x
    DHS: U.S. Naturalizations 1907-2012
    DHS: U.S. Naturalizations 1907-2012
    Claire Bergeron, a researcher with the Migration Policy Institute, attributes that increase to the 2012 presidential election.

    “There were a lot of outreach efforts leading up to the presidential election to get people to naturalize. A lot of the big ones we saw this year were Latino organizations,” she said. 

    Latino voters, including many new citizens, helped secure President Barack Obama’s re-election and increased the power of his Democratic Party in Congress.

    A total of 757,434 people naturalized in 2012, up from 694,193 the year before. The majority of new citizens were born in Mexico, the Philippines, India, the Dominican Republic and China, according to the data released Friday.

    Naturalizations increased the most among people born in the Dominican Republic and Cuba between 2011 and 2012.

    Vietnam, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria and Somalia were among the top 20 countries of origin.

    Immigration policy experts say the 2012 data is fairly unremarkable, except that it may be a point of reference as immigration trends change in future years if Congress passes immigration reform.

    Growing numbers of lawmakers are calling for a path to citizenship for the estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. But what type of path, and how long it would take is the subject of intense debate, with new pitches flying through Washington each week.

    Last year, the U.S. granted “green cards” to 1,031,631 foreigners. That lets them live and work permanently anywhere in the U.S. and opens the door to citizenship within five years.

    Mexico, China and India were the leading countries of birth of America’s newest legal permanent residents. People born in Iraq, Burma, Bangladesh and Ethiopia were among the top 20.

    The majority of the green card holders already lived in the U.S. when their status changed. Nearly 66 percent were granted permanent resident status based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or another green card holder.

    The system to determine who gets a green card is a complicated process, with preference going to family members and foreigners with needed job skills or who came from countries not well represented in the U.S.

    Some immigration reformers are suggesting a new green card category be created for the undocumented immigrants in the U.S., while others object to what they consider to be an “amnesty” for people who broke the law.

    Erwin DeLeon, an immigration specialist with the Washington-based research group the Urban Institute, says he expects new data trends will emerge in about a decade because of the work Congress is doing now.

    If Congress passes immigration reform this year or next, he says, “by 2020 you’ll see a big spike” in permanent residents and new citizens.

    Bergeron isn’t so sure about the timing, however, since some proposals are suggesting unauthorized immigrants would have to wait as long as 10 years to become legal, with an additional five-year wait to naturalize.

    Persons Naturalized by Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal Years 2010 to 2012:

      2012 2011 2010
      Num. % Num. % Num. %
    REGION Total 757,434 100 694,193 100 619,913 100
    Africa 74,775 9.9 69,738 10 64,022 10.3
    Asia 257,035 33.9 249,940 36 251,598 40.6
    Europe 82,714 10.9 82,209 11.8 78,011 12.6
    North America 261,673 34.5 217,750 31.4 163,836 26.4
    Caribbean 109,762 14.5 79,820 11.5 62,483 10.1
    Central America 40,592 5.4 33,784 4.9 25,706 4.1
    Other North America 111,319 14.7 104,146 15 75,647 12.2
    Oceania 3,886 0.5 3,734 0.5 3,646 0.6
    South America 76,992 10.2 70,485 10.2 58,474 9.4
    Unknown 359 337 326 0.1
     
    COUNTRY Total 757,434 100 694,193 100 619,913 100
    Mexico 102,181 13.5 94,783 13.7 67,062 10.8
    Philippines 44,958 5.9 42,520 6.1 35,465 5.7
    India 42,928 5.7 45,985 6.6 61,142 9.9
    Dominican Republic 33,351 4.4 20,508 3 15,451 2.5
    China, People's Republic 31,868 4.2 32,864 4.7 33,969 5.5
    Cuba 31,244 4.1 21,071 3 14,050 2.3
    Colombia 23,972 3.2 22,693 3.3 18,417 3
    Vietnam 23,490 3.1 20,922 3 19,313 3.1
    Haiti 19,114 2.5 14,191 2 12,291 2
    El Salvador 16,685 2.2 13,834 2 10,343 1.7
    Jamaica 15,531 2.1 14,591 2.1 12,070 1.9
    Korea, South 13,790 1.8 12,664 1.8 11,170 1.8
    Peru 11,814 1.6 10,266 1.5 8,551 1.4
    Pakistan 11,150 1.5 10,655 1.5 11,601 1.9
    Brazil 9,884 1.3 10,251 1.5 8,867 1.4
    Iran 9,627 1.3 9,286 1.3 9,337 1.5
    Ukraine 9,459 1.2 8,489 1.2 7,345 1.2
    Nigeria 9,322 1.2 9,344 1.3 9,126 1.5
    Somalia 9,286 1.2 7,971 1.1 5,728 0.9
    United Kingdom 9,145 1.2 9,246 1.3 8,401 1.4
    All other countries 278,635 36.8 262,059 37.8 240,214 38.7

    Figure rounds to 0.0. Countries ranked by 2012 persons naturalized. Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, N-400 naturalization data for persons aged 18 and over, Fiscal Years 2010 to 2012.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: SALEH from: YEMEN
    March 25, 2013 10:09 AM
    I proud to be an AMERICAN citizen , I believe in the CONSTITUTION and LIBERTY .

    by: Ona Hagreen from: Wisconsin
    March 24, 2013 2:14 PM
    I have a friend in Chicago,who would like a green card,workes as a caregiver,pays taxes,has a SSI card and is very proud to be here,what would she do next.................

    by: saleh awdaly from: yemen
    March 24, 2013 10:56 AM
    Really , in fact I never seen thing clever as than as the U.S. immigration DEPARTMENTS , the DHS , and USCIS , they are PERFECTLY , working , they are SO sensitive , flexible , know , how they choice the fit immigrants to build the STRONG INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE U.S.A ., they provide us with resources , and customers services , in summary they deal with us gently .

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.