Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship: Evidence from Europe and North America

A report of the Center for American Progress,

By Pieter Bevelander and Don J. DeVoretz

A number of recent studies have illustrated that opening a door for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status and, ultimately, citizenship would significantly enhance the U.S. economy. This report goes further, examining not just the U.S. case but also the economic impact of allowing immigrants to gain full citizenship in other countries in North America and Europe. The evidence is clear: A pathway to citizenship free of obstacles and undue delays helps immigrants integrate into the labor market and increase their earnings. These increased earnings and the corresponding added tax revenue would help grow the economy, which yields benefits for native-born citizens too.

But generally understanding that pro-citizenship policies have positively affected a range of economies is only the first part of the inquiry. The next step is evaluating how the United States can maximize the potential economic gains from such policies. After demonstrating that granting citizenship carries positive economic impacts for an array of countries, this report delves deeper to explore how to maximize the gains from citizenship.

The literature on new and old immigrant-destination countries shows that the clearer the pathway to citizenship, the greater the gains, and that the optimal waiting period for citizenship is roughly five years. Placing significant restrictions and lengthy delays on immigrants’ ability to become citizens diminishes the size of their ultimate economic premium for two reasons. The number of years that an immigrant can work for higher wages as a naturalized citizen declines, and immigrants have fewer incentives to invest in training and new skills as they age. Also, the best and the brightest immigrants may leave for their home countries or other, more welcoming countries.

But the goal is not simply to maximize individual naturalized citizens’ contributions. It is also to encourage the greatest number of people to naturalize so that the country can reap the biggest economic benefit possible. After all, the economic gains will have little overall impact on a country’s economy if few people are able to actually achieve citizenship.

If maximizing the economic benefits of immigration reform is a priority for U.S. policymakers, it follows that they should adopt a clear, achievable, and relatively short pathway to citizenship that encourages the most eligible individuals to naturalize. However, legislation presently before Congress, such as the Senate-passed immigration reform bill, proposes a far-longer pathway to citizenship—a minimum of 13 years—than is optimal. This pathway also comes with $2,000 in fines and numerous application fees, all of which could serve to reduce the economic premium from citizenship and the number of people who will naturalize.

Read the full report (pdf) here


The Reconceptualization of European Union Citizenship


Edited by Elspeth Guild, Cristina Gortázar Rotaeche and Dora Kostakopoulou

This book maps out, from a variety of theoretical standpoints, the challenges generated by European integration and EU citizenship for community membership, belonging and polity-making beyond the state. It does so by focusing on three main issues of relevance for how EU citizenship has developed and its capacity to challenge state sovereignty and authority as the main loci of creating and delivering rights and protection. First, it looks at the relationship between citizenship of the Union and European identity and assesses how immigration and access to nationality in the Member States impact on the development of a common European identity. Secondly, it discusses how the idea of solidarity interacts with the boundaries of EU citizenship as constructed by the entitlement and capacity of mobile citizens to enjoy equality and social rights as EU citizens. Thirdly, the book engages with issues of EU citizenship and equality as the building blocks of the EU project. By engaging with these themes, this volume provides a topical and comprehensive account of the present and future development of Union citizenship and studies the collisions between the realisation of its constructive potential and Member State autonomy.

See more at the site of the publisher.

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy


Special Issue: Domination, Migration and Non-citizens

CRISPP, volume 17, issue 1 (2014)

Iseult Honohan & Marit Hovdal-Moan (guest editors)

Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy 17.1 (2014) is a special issue on ‘Domination, migration and citizenship’, jointly edited by guest editors, Iseult Honohan and Marit Hovdal Moan. The articles examine the light that the republican concept of domination may cast on issues arising from the tension between state sovereignty and universal principles in the treatment of migrants and non-citizens in contemporary liberal democratic states. The issues addressed include migration controls,  territorial boundaries, the status of non-citizens, conditions for the integration of immigrants, and access to citizenship.  The contributors are Sarah Fine, Iseult Honohan, Meghan Benton, Marit Hovdal Moan, David Owen, Lubomira Radoilska and Christopher Bertram.


Immigrant Integration and Access to Citizenship in the European Union: The Role of Origin Countries

by Maarten VinkINTERACT Research Report 2013/05

This position paper addresses the following research question: “How do actors in sending countries influence the integration of immigrants in the European Union, with regard to the access to citizenship?” The paper argues that the access to citizenship can be viewed as an important factor in the process of integration of immigrants in the destination country. The role of actors in third countries, while only one of the factors that determine citizenship take-up among integration, is crucial as particularly by allowing dual citizenship, countries of origin can take away a major constraint for immigrants in the naturalisation process. Research shows that naturalisation rates are positively impacted by tolerant policies towards dual citizenship. The report discusses the state-of-the-art on the propensity to naturalise among immigrants, as well as on the relation between citizenship and integration. It also presents some key findings from the literature and outlines the relevant questions for further research.


Tilburg Law Review - Special Issue on Statelessness


Global Law Special Issue – Statelessness 

Tilburg Law Review, volume 14, issue 1-2 (2014)