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Study: Be Kind To Immigrants And They Will Become Legal Citizens

January 23, 2012 by  

Study: Be Kind To Immigrants And They Will Become Legal Citizens

A new study from the University of California at Irvine says that kindness, not money, is the biggest inspiration for immigrants to go through the processes necessary to become legal U.S. citizens.

Naturalization rates increased after the 1996 Welfare Reform Act restricted many benefits to just citizens, leading many immigration experts to speculate that the promise of welfare benefits was inspiring more immigrants to become citizens.

But results of a study by demographers Susan Brown and Frank Bean suggest that there is a strong connection between how welcoming a community is toward immigrants, and the immigrants’ likeliness to opt to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

“Legal immigrants are twice as likely to naturalize when they live in states with a warm, welcoming attitude toward immigrants,” Brown said.

The researches defined “welcoming attitudes” as those in areas where locals believe immigrants are hardworking and beneficial, and where they tend to oppose English-only policies.

“There’s no doubt that welfare reform has contributed to increased rates of naturalization — it added value and salience to citizenship,” Bean said. “But when we look at all the different forces influencing immigrants to naturalize, money doesn’t seem to be the major factor — it’s whether the state puts out its welcome mat.”

The most favorable attitude toward immigrants was reported in Arizona, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. Immigrants in those areas were more likely to naturalize.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • CJ

    Again, as with any survey, the wording can be made to get any desired outcome. So, say only 5% would naturalize before, then ONLY 10% would after. This would mean “Legal immigrants are twice as likely…” ignores all the illegals, and that a MAJORITY still wouldn’t. Bottom line, don’t assume the results are good until you know ALL the numbers. In this case, I’m inclined to believe the true numbers are insignificant, and the study proves nothing.

    • Deerinwater

      I’m inclined to agree with you CJ.

      This study results is like attempting to determine which direction “UP” is. Only in all things being relative might it be debatable and a foregone conclusion.

      I’d call this write “fluffy” while it did narrow down the states more acceptable to immigration. And of course we should all remember, we are a nation of immigrates.

      We gain a New American every 14 seconds as I understand it. But that number is a few years old while deportation today are breaking old records.

      • Alton Clark

        We might have come from immigrants but as far as I know there were no food stamps or government checks in the cargo holes on any of the ships that they came on !

        • Deerinwater

          Well hmm? Maybe it’s just a matter of labels. You ever hear the term “indentured” slave? A little more overt perhaps but allows for indebtedness and compromising of personal liberties. Your liberties have been abridged. Some might call it “dragging light” or the accepting a personal “marker”.

          So yes, the notion of indebtedness arrived on this land on the “Nenio”, “Pinta” and the “Santa Maria”and continues today.

          We do what we must, to do what we want. It has always been so.

  • s c

    Obviously, insanity is the new sanity. Have you FORGOTTEN that laws have been broken in the name of being nice? I realize utopians have no shame (no conscience, no character, no talent, no abilities, no future and probably no past, either).
    Either America has laws that are ENFORCED, or we have NO laws, and it’s OUR turn to make life interesting for ALL utopians. Strap yourselves in. Let’s DANCE, you utopian mammy jammers.

  • sfix

    more crap from the open borders, mass-immigration republicans. The fact is, we havea huge number of people unemployed and underemployed.We have a staggering federal deficit. We have millions of immigrants receiving federal or state assisstance that are largely paid for by us the non immigrants. To add to the injures given by our out of control immigration system; they often receive preferential hiring due to various “affirmative action” and “diversity development” programs. There are many other programs designed specificly to help immigrants. The government is already too nice to immigrants and not nice enough to its own citizens.

    The GOP tries to avoid the immigration issue. It is the #1 issue to me and will not vote for ANY mass-immigration Republican! At any level!

    • Sirian

      It’s not just the GOP sfix, look a bit closer, BOTH SIDES are playing the same game when it comes to immigration. Come on, step back a bit and look at their history and and I’m sure you’ll see it. It’s a well established political tool for either side whenever it becomes a “media front” issue.

    • Howard

      Where did you get the idea that Republicans are the ones pushing for open borders? That is insane. You must have been living under a rock for the last decade. It is you Obama lovers that are pushing for the illegal mexicans to become freeloading citizens of this country, so they can vote for the party of the freeloaders, the Democrat Party. I suggest you move to Iran. I am sure they will welcome you with open arms. Just tell them you are a buddy of Obamanation.

      • Raggs

        :) Howard….

        • http://naver sook young

          I agree and thank you.

          Sook Young
          Wife of the Samurai


  • Ellen

    I think the original assertion that more naturalized to collect welfare is accurate. I’ve had immigrant neighbors in several states where I live/lived. All were successful and none were even considering naturalization. They can’t vote, but don’t believe in American politics anyway. None were planning to return to the countries of their citizenship. They were all planning to live the remainder of their lives in the US. All were welcomed where they lived and were happy. It is no secret that uneducated/unskilled immigrants come here for our welfare, as they can’t survive here on minimum wage jobs. While 14 million workers are out of work, we need to temporarily stop immigration.

  • David in MA


    “Legal immigrants are twice as likely to naturalize when they live in states with a warm, welcoming attitude toward immigrants,” Brown said


  • Barbara

    Invite, then love, all Mexicans, including Cartels. Then, when Mexico is empty, we can go there. They have two long coastlines, all natural resources, lots of agricultural land, and we can leave the Liberals here with the Mexicans. We can all be happy. We’ll simply continue Mexican law there, and no more immigrants can come.

    • Deerinwater

      Oh! I love that idea! Let’s go now!

      We seem to enjoy fighting wars in the wrong place anymore.

      There was a time when the right place much more obvious.

      While I love the coast, I want the central mountain region, steady comfort all year long, rich in game and resources and defensible.

      But I’d want the Americans to stay here while I go. American would just screw the balance up. I just need a small army of say ~ 250?

    • Bus

      Congress is like a deer in the headlights on this issue. The dems want more illegals so they can get them to vote (legally or illegally) and the republicans want them to keep coming so they have a cheap source of labor. The laws are so outdated and the agencies so confused and under-staffed that the laws have simply been ignored for 30 years.
      First write some sensible laws, second fund the bureaucracy to enforce the laws, third figure out what to do with the millions of illeagals already here. We seem to be going about it backwards.

  • 2WarAbnVet

    I’ll bet a lot of taxpayer money funded this stupid study.

    • Raggs

      Yup and it was the illegals that did the study…

  • Raggs

    So this study suggest that we should be nice to illegals so they will move in?
    Are you freakin kidding?
    Sounds like the demoncrap party is working full force for votes for king oblama.

  • Gringo Infidel

    Kindness in the U.S. is a lost (almost) practice so more of that would be beneficial for all of us.

    No problem with LEGAL immigrants – I say, “Welcome!” heartily. To those who break the law to get here for whatever the reason: I may empathize with you for why you did it, but you did it illegally and cut in line of those who ARE following the law. If the circumstances are so bad where you are from that you are willing to break the law of my country then maybe you ought to try changing your country by staying there.

    Overly simplistic? Perhaps but then we either live by the law or we don’t. If we don’t then what is stop any of us from violating any law we feel like it? Anarchy is doom.

    • Raggs

      Thats a naive way of looking at this when after commiting a crime here in the US king oblama sends illegals back to mexico with arms.

  • wildmann

    F-Bomb ALL Illegal Invaders. I’ve Been to Mexico. It’s one of the dirtiest disease ridden hell-holes on the planet!

  • carol

    And I think a smiley face next to all the International Welcome signs should be posted at all high traffic “illegal” entrance areas. Do we have the rest areas built yet?

  • James

    I believe the article was about immigrants who are here legally, then consider whether to apply for citizenship here. Such immigrants are here on visas that limit the time they may stay here. However, the federal government doesn’t enforce that, which results in their being here illegally. If so, they should be deported the same as any illegal alien.

  • http://google Leonard W. Giddens

    I don’t give a rat’s a## if they don’t become citizens, it’s their lost. Where the hell does these creeps get off telling us we need to be kind to law breaking leaches? Stick your study in your ear and all other holds in your liberal body.

  • simian pete

    Open borders ? No such thing as “open borders” here in Nafta land. BORDERS DON’T EXIST ANYMORE !!! Just some lines drawn on an old map! HA HA HA !!

    The University at Irvine shouldn’t worry about citizenship. Mexico, USA and Canada – all the same now amigos !!! If your a Mexican, you de facto have same rights as USA “citizen” except in voting… but more towns and cities want “non-citizens” to vote . It’s the NAFTA way !

    Everyone laughed at Ross Perot when he debated AL Gore on the Larry King show … Heh Heh ! I guess Mr. Perot is having the last laugh (and so is Al Gore !).

    Anyhow, them women from south of the border look better than the majority of American women. They also make better wives, more likely not to divorce you dudes. More tolerant .. That means less $$$ for alimony to all the lazy fat crazy xanax crazed bi-polar American women.

    Actually illegal immigration is a Women’s Issue ! Like reproductive rights or something !! It’s cutting into the divorce lawyer business ….

    Don’t get me wrong – not all American women are crazy, the 95% liberal feminist majority makes the 5% conservative minority look bad …

  • Robert C Peters

    how do we know anymore whether people are “immigrants” or NOT Do we get to ASK them?. If YOU don’t speak English, you do not deserve to be here, and I question your RIGHT to be here. When my folks came over from Europe in the early 1900′s -they had to speak SOME English! They took a TEST, and came in from Ellis Island, like EVERY other LEGAL. Be KIND to them, like we should be pittying them? then the next thing – they got our jobs… let ‘em go back to THEIR OWN country – and work on CORRECTING IT! our borders should be CLOSED

  • Robert C Peters

    ohh… I can’t RESIST! who wrote this? why don’t U try going to one of these “immigrants” countries, and try to get a JOB? And see how they feel about it? And EXpect them to speak “your” language? Even though, English is supposed to be “the UNIVERSAL” language…CRIPES! We see every day on the NEWS, people around the world speaking ENGLISH(the UNIVERSAL) -THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! But we have MILLIONS+++here that “say” (what is that they’re speaking?)- “no speak ENGLISH” I’ll give these people a HARD A TIME as I can! Go back and FIX your OWN!


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