February 18, 2015

Erica Silva

Silva.Erica.jpg

Major and Classification

Political Science

Faculty Mentor

  • Ricardo Ramirez, Ph.D.

Department

  • College of Letters, Arts, & Sciences

McNair Project

Is Now the Time? Examining the Naturalization Process through Citizenship Assistance Workshops

Abstract
In response to the 2006 pro-immigrant marches and growing anti-immigrant legislation emerging across the nation, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) created the Ya Es Hora ¡Ciudadanía! (It’s Time for Citizenship) campaign in an effort to increase naturalization rates among the Latino community. This research addresses the effectiveness of NALEO’s citizenship assistance workshops and what role they play in an individual’s propensity to apply for citizenship. Prior research has explored immigrant reasons for naturalization and the political mobilization of newly naturalized citizens. Although naturalization rates are up to 118% in Los Angeles, no study has evaluated the effectiveness of these workshops on an individual’s propensity to apply for naturalization. Using a pre and post survey, this paper analyzes the change in attitudes among workshop participants in California and Texas. The survey explores immigrant perceived barriers towards USCIS procedures, the workshops affect on an individuals emotions towards the application process, and the demographic characteristics of participants. This research is the first step in evaluating citizenship assistance workshops, and provides recommendations to increase workshop effectiveness in an effort to help immigrants attain their legal and political rights as American citizens.