78 Pages Posted: 9 May 2016 Last revised: 25 Mar 2017
Date Written: May 6, 2016
In the last fifteen years, in the United States and elsewhere, there has been a profound and remarkably rapid change to long-established naturalization laws and regulations. In particular, aspiring citizens are now asked to pass increasingly rigorous language and knowledge tests to demonstrate that they can truly “belong” to the cultural mainstream in their new country. The political rhetoric accompanying these changes has focused heavily on concerns about national security and economic vitality in the context of the global recession. As U.S. scholars, lawmakers and advocates consider how best to respond to renewed calls to overhaul American nationality laws, the recent experiences of other Western nations in doing so can shed light on the range of options that are potentially available. This Article therefore explores recent developments in the statutory and regulatory naturalization requirements in seven countries — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Australia. The Article identifies potential options for reform to American nationality laws, that are informed by these recent developments here in the United States, as well as by the experiences of other mature democracies.
Keywords: immigration, nationality, citizenship, comparative
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