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The North American Naturalization Gap: An Institutional Approach to Citizenship Acquisition in the United States and Canada1

The North American Naturalization Gap: An Institutional Approach to Citizenship Acquisition in... Using 1990 U.S. Census 5% PUMS and 1991 Canadian Census 3% public and 20% restricted microfiles, this article demonstrates the existence of a North American naturalization gap: immigrants living in Canada are on average much more likely to be citizens than their counterparts in the United States, and they acquire citizenship much faster than those living south of the border. Current theories explaining naturalization differences - focusing on citizenship laws, group traits or the characteristics of individual migrants - fail to explain the naturalization gap. Instead, I propose an institutional approach to citizenship acquisition. States' normative stances regarding immigrant integration (interventionist or autonomous) generate integrated or disconnected institutional configurations between government, ethnic organizations and individuals. Evidence from a case study of Portuguese immigrants living in Massachusetts and Ontario suggests that in Toronto government bureaucrats and federal policy encourage citizenship through symbolic support and instrumental aid to ethnic organizations and community leaders. In contrast, Boston area grassroots groups are expected to mobilize and aid their constituents without direct state support, resulting in lower citizenship levels. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Migration Review SAGE

The North American Naturalization Gap: An Institutional Approach to Citizenship Acquisition in the United States and Canada1

International Migration Review , Volume 36 (1): 36 – Mar 1, 2002

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References (48)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2002 Center for Migration Studies
ISSN
0197-9183
eISSN
1747-7379
DOI
10.1111/j.1747-7379.2002.tb00077.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Using 1990 U.S. Census 5% PUMS and 1991 Canadian Census 3% public and 20% restricted microfiles, this article demonstrates the existence of a North American naturalization gap: immigrants living in Canada are on average much more likely to be citizens than their counterparts in the United States, and they acquire citizenship much faster than those living south of the border. Current theories explaining naturalization differences - focusing on citizenship laws, group traits or the characteristics of individual migrants - fail to explain the naturalization gap. Instead, I propose an institutional approach to citizenship acquisition. States' normative stances regarding immigrant integration (interventionist or autonomous) generate integrated or disconnected institutional configurations between government, ethnic organizations and individuals. Evidence from a case study of Portuguese immigrants living in Massachusetts and Ontario suggests that in Toronto government bureaucrats and federal policy encourage citizenship through symbolic support and instrumental aid to ethnic organizations and community leaders. In contrast, Boston area grassroots groups are expected to mobilize and aid their constituents without direct state support, resulting in lower citizenship levels.

Journal

International Migration ReviewSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2002

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