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Podcast: The Road Not Taken – Millions of Immigrants Could Apply for Citizenship, But Haven’t

Candidates for U.S. citizenship recite the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Candidates for U.S. citizenship recite the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

More than 8 million immigrants in the U.S. are eligible to apply for citizenship, but many of them have never taken the first step toward becoming a U.S. citizen. Some cite the high cost of applying ($680 in government fees, plus the cost of a lawyer), others worry that they don’t speak English well enough to pass the citizenship test.

Only 36 percent of Mexicans with Legal Permanent Resident status actually become naturalized U.S. citizens. That’s significantly below other groups including Cubans, Indians and Europeans.

In this podcast Fi2W’s John Rudolph attempts to unravel the citizenship riddle with Julissa Gutierrez, Acting Director of National Programs and Community Relations at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of the Hispanic Research Center at the Pew Research Center in Washington DC.

Polls recently conducted by NALEO and the Pew Research Center reveal some surprising attitudes towards citizenship among Latinos and Asians.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation. The Fi2W Magazine was made possible in part by The Media Consortium and the Voqal Fund.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in Two Worlds brings the work of immigrant and ethnic media journalists from communities across the U.S. to public radio and the web. Since 2005, this award-winning project has expanded the diversity of voices and stories on public radio by presenting the work of journalists representing a broad spectrum of immigrant communities including Arab, Bosnian, Brazilian, Chinese, Haitian, Indian, Irish, Latin American, Pakistani, Polish, and Russian immigrants. Feet in Two Worlds reporters appear on nationally-distributed public radio programs including PRI’s The World, Studio 360, and The Takeaway, American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Latino USA, as well as on public radio stations WNYC, New York Public Radio, and WDET in Detroit.