The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ranks New Jersey in the top 5 states with the highest number of naturalizations in 2017, according to the Agency’s 2017 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, which was released to the public on October 2, 2018. New Jersey—the 11th most populous state—ranked fifth, with a total of 38,611 naturalizations in Fiscal Year 2017. Ahead of New Jersey were California, New York, Florida, and Texas.
Naturalization is the process by which lawful permanent residents become United States citizens, through an extensive application, testing, vetting and interview process. Given increased review by the Trump Administration, the process can be daunting for many immigrants, often taking over a year for final adjudication.
The Fiscal Year 2017 number is slightly down from the 40,344 New Jersey immigrants who naturalized in Fiscal Year 2016. The decline is attributed to an increase in processing times, not a decrease in the number of naturalization applicants.
A state’s number of naturalizations is considered a leading indicator of the state’s success in assimilating immigrants into the fabric of the American life, given the necessary physical presence, English language, American civics, tax, civil service, and other mandatory requirements for passage from lawful permanent residency to the honor of United States Citizenship.