|Crowds in the middle of the naturalization ceremony|
Happy July 4th week! And what better day to become a U.S. citizen than on the birthday of the country?
All throughout the U.S. this week, special naturalization ceremonies are taking place welcoming new citizens from all over the world, including, of course, Ireland. Philadelphia is hosting a special ceremony at Betsy Ross’s house on the 4th; other special events that day will be held at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, and aboard the USS Constitution in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
How many Irish will naturalize this July 4? Probably not many, if prior stats are anything to go by.
The Irish have always been slow to convert permanent resident status into U.S. citizenship. For the most recent fiscal year, 2011, a total of 1,171 Irish citizens became naturalized American citizens – 663 males and 508 females.
New York is home to 230 of those new citizens, with California second at 188 citizens and Massachusetts with 144. Those stats aren’t surprising, given the popularity of places like San Francisco, Woodlawn and Boston among Irish arrivals.
The vast majority of new Irish Americans, 830, were married; 435 new citizens were aged between 35 and 44, followed by 322 aged 45-54.
For fiscal year 2010 the Irish stats are very similar, with 1,178 total naturalizations. Again New York was the base for most, with 252, and California runner-up at 162.
How does Ireland compare to other nations? For 2011 9,246 natives of the United Kingdom were naturalized, 3,360 from Iraq, 94,783 from Mexico, 54 from Malta and 42,520 from the Philippines.
Those holding permanent residence for five years are eligible to apply for naturalization; marriage to a
U.S. citizen cuts the waiting time to only three years.
The benefits of naturalization are plentiful – the right to vote, sponsor other family members for legalization, travel outside the country for an unlimited amount of time . . .the list goes on.
For more information, visit www.uscis.gov