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Many Avoid Tough Path To Citizenship

Publication Date: 
March 04, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
Miriam Jordan

Professor Daniel Siciliano is quoted by The Wall Street Journal's Miriam Jordan about the pathway to citizenship in the United States and how it's best described as "onerous." 

The move to overhaul the nation's immigration system has stirred controversy in part over the issue of offering citizenship to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

But judging by the last time the U.S. opened such a path for illegal immigrants then in the country, many fewer than 11 million likely would become citizens. After the 1986 immigration overhaul, fewer than half of those eligible became naturalized.


"People think it's automatic, short and easy," said Dan Siciliano, a Stanford Law School professor who studies immigration. In reality, he said, "the pathway to citizenship is onerous."


Mr. Siciliano of Stanford, who studies immigrant entrepreneurship, believes there would be economic consequences of denying citizenship. "It would slow assimilation and reduce the formation of businesses," he said.