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50 percent of Pennsylvania's immigrants have naturalized

As the U.S. House of Representatives discusses immigration reform, it may be incredibly important to learn about the nation's immigrant populations in order to create an appropriate immigration bill. While it is likely that many members of Congress have consulted with professionals in the immigration field, do they really understand their states' demographics? Do they know, for example, how many immigrants have acquired U.S. citizenship and, thus, have earned the right to vote?

Fortunately for some of Pennsylvania's representatives, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians has just released a study of the immigrants in Reading, Doylestown, Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Scranton and Pottsville. The five members of the House representing these districts will likely pay attention to not only what types of immigrants are living in their districts, but also who is eligible to vote.

Statewide, 50 percent of immigrants have naturalized and acquired the right to vote. Of these 5 districts, the highest percentange of immigrants with U.S. citizenship was just over 60 percent, but the lowest was still close to 40 percent. If the House chooses to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the state without legal permission, it will likely boost the voting base in some of these districts.

Pennsylvania's immigrants are as diverse a bunch as the people who were born and raised here. From the highest ends of the wage spectrum to the lowest, Pennsylvania's immigrants are doing a lot for the community. How Pennsylvania's representatives vote on immigration reform will likely have an effect on their future in the state, too.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, "Study assesses Southeastern Pa. immigrants," Michael Matza, July 19, 2013

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