E.g., 08/12/2020
E.g., 08/12/2020

Citizenship & Civic Engagement

Citizenship & Civic Engagement

Citizenship brings many benefits to immigrants and to their country of settlement, and represents a dynamic policy vehicle for promoting the political incorporation of immigrants and, by extension, their more complete integration. Naturalization allows immigrants to participate fully in the civic life of their new country, and is a powerful symbolic gesture of their commitment to their host society. The research collected here examines citizenship policies in a number of countries, the economic effects of citizenship, dual citizenship, citizenship by descent or birth in the territory, and the application and processing of citizenship applications.

Recent Activity

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The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to maintain an injunction on President Obama's signature deferred action programs and the timing of the administration's Supreme Court appeal will prove critical amid the 2016 election campaign. This Policy Beat also explores a federal judge's decision not to block a Texas policy refusing to issue birth certificates to the U.S.-born children of unauthorized parents. Should the policy be upheld, it could open the door for further limitations on birthright citizenship.

Signed into law 50 years ago, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 had several unintended consequences that have had a profound effect on the flow of immigrants to the United States and contributed to the transformation of the U.S. demographic profile. This Policy Beat explores the law's lasting impact and lessons for policymaking today.

While many countries are increasing engagement with their diasporas, U.S. policy has chiefly focused on U.S.-based diasporas from other countries, despite its own estimated overseas population of 7.6 million. This feature explores results from a survey of more than 1,400 U.S. citizens and 140 former citizens living abroad, many of whom are critical of limited U.S. government engagement with them even as restrictive financial reporting regulations have been imposed.

An estimated 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States in 2013, about 13 percent of the total U.S. population, constituting the world's largest foreign-born population. This Spotlight from MPI's Jie Zong and Jeanne Batalova offers the most current and sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—including origin, educational attainment, the unauthorized, deportations, and more—in one easy-to-use resource.

The U.S. immigrant population—estimated at 40.8 million in 2012 — is the nation’s historical numerical high, and it is also the largest foreign-born population in the world. About 20 percent of all international migrants reside in the United States, even as the country accounts for less than 5 percent of global population. This article presents the latest, most sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—by origin, residence, legal status, deportations, languages spoken, and more—in one easy-to-use resource.

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Recent Activity

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As Brexit negotiations move forward, the issue of the future rights for EU nationals resident in the United Kingdom and UK nationals living on the continent has emerged as a sticking point. Though negotiators in early December 2017 agreed to a skeletal deal on citizens' rights, countless details remain to be worked out, leaving the future of some 4 million people unresolved—with implications for them, their families, employers, and others.

Commentaries
November 2017

Amid growing calls for Congress to pass DREAM Act-type legislation, critics are arguing that legalization would spur vast new "chain migration" because DREAMers could eventually sponsor their relatives for green cards. MPI estimates the numbers who could receive legal permanent residence as a result of sponsorship by DREAMers would be far lower, for a range of reasons explained in this commentary.

Reports
November 2017

Amid ongoing Brexit negotiations, much remains uncertain for the roughly 1 million UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union. This report offers a demographic profile of these Brexpats, considering what form an EU-UK deal on citizens’ rights might take and identifying key challenges many Britons are likely to face—including difficulty securing legal status and accessing labor markets, social security, and health-care systems.

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Even as the United States and countries in Europe have made a right turn on immigration in recent years, Canada has remained a largely welcoming country. Underlying this resilience is an approach to immigration focused on active management and refinement of policies as well as long-term economic, social, and political integration, as this article explores.

Reports
June 2017

Amid high levels of immigration, the roles of religion, culture, and identity in liberal democratic societies in Europe have come under the microscope. Few have found it easy to identify a core set of shared values and to communicate them evenhandedly to newcomers. Amid clashes over burqas and belonging, this report explores the tradeoffs policymakers face in defining, instilling, and managing disagreement over values.

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What happens when a country reverts to an earlier citizenship policy? When Estonia did just that after gaining independence in 1991, a new class of stateless residents emerged, comprised of Soviet-era Russian-speaking migrants and their descendants. This article explores the effects of Estonia's post-Soviet citizenship policy on its Russian-speaking population, particularly with regard to political participation and civic engagement.

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A number of high-profile terrorist attacks in the West have raised questions about why geopolitical events sometimes trigger strong, violent reactions in certain diaspora communities, but not in others. What could be behind this divergence in responses? This article examines how Muslim communities in London and Detroit have reacted to conflict abroad, as well as the factors that drive reactive conflict spillover.

Commentaries
March 2017

The failure of Geert Wilders’ right-wing, anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV) to become the top vote-getter in the Dutch parliamentary elections is being hailed as proof of the limits of anti-Muslim rhetoric and even the “waning” of the appeal of right-wing populism. But as this commentary explores, a closer reading leads one to a more nuanced interpretation of the results and the recognition that Wilders will remain a major force.

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