Minnesota Family Naturalization Project
The Minnesota Family Naturalization Project focuses on increasing the number of permanent residents in Minnesota who naturalize as U.S. citizens while also collaborating across sectors, with law enforcement and grassroots organizations, to promote the importance of citizenship. ILCM works with clients to file the citizenship application and accompanies applicants to the citizenship interview. Many naturalization cases are placed with private attorneys trained and supervised through our Pro Bono Project.
Naturalization is critical for immigrant families to finally secure the legal rights and protections of U.S. citizens. Only U.S. citizens are protected from deportation and are able to vote. U.S. citizen adults are also able to derive citizenship for their children and spouses, which supports family unity and stability. U.S. citizens are better able to access employment and scholarships, enhancing income, career advancement, and associated benefits, such as home ownership, health insurance enrollment, and workforce participation.
Although the number of annual naturalizations nationwide has increased dramatically since the 1970s, millions of eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) still do not naturalize. In Minnesota, an estimated 73,000-80,000 LPRs are eligible to naturalize today but have not; this represents 27 percent of the state’s total LPR population. This includes at least 6,200 naturalization-eligible Somali immigrants (Journal on Migration and Human Security, 2015). Each year, 10,000 – 12,000 LPRs naturalize in Minnesota.
Many immigrants may not naturalize due to fear, distrust, and misinformation. Still others may not naturalize because of the fees required to apply for citizenship. The cost of applying for citizenship has increased 200 percent since 2007, and 610 percent since 1998. Currently, the fee for adult applicants is $725, including an $85 biometric fee. Fee waivers and disability waivers are available for qualifying individuals. Please contact our office or visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information.