Perverse Effects?: The Impact of “Anti-Immigrant” Legislation on Naturalization Rates of Refugees versus Other Immigrants

Kelly J. Jefferys, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Bryan Baker, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Stephanie Willis, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

This paper will examine the potential reasons for the higher naturalization rates of refugees, using actual cohorts of immigrants between acquisition of legal permanent resident status and naturalization. Previous literature was limited to Census data and did not follow actual cohorts with specific naturalization dates. Statelessness has typically been cited as an explanation for refugee naturalization behavior, but this study will dig further by examining the effects of other factors including change in cohort composition (country/region of origin) and greater responsiveness to the “anti-immigrant” legislation of the 1990s. Analysis will test the hypothesis that welfare reform and other 1990s legislation had a different effect on the naturalization behaviors of refugees than other immigrant groups.

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Presented in Poster Session 2