Washington, July 11 (IANS) Fewer Indians are seeking American citizenship though they are still the second biggest ethnic group to get the right to live in the US permanently. There were as many as 46,871 or 7 percent Indians among 660,477 people from around the world who became naturalised US citizens in 2007, according to the Annual Flow Report of the US Office of Immigration Statistics.
Mexico with 19 percent topped the list of leading countries of origins of new citizens with the Philippines (6 percent) taking the third place after India. China (5 percent) and Vietnam (4 percent) were next in fourth and fifth places respectively.
In 2005, the number of Indians who took citizenship was 35,962 or 6 percent of the total; in 2006, the number rose to 47,542 or 6.8 percent; and in 2007 it was 46,871 or 7.1 percent.
When combined, the 10 countries with the largest number of naturalizations accounted for 53 percent of all new citizens in 2007. The largest number of persons naturalising lived in California (181,684) followed by New York (73,676) and Florida (54,563).
The report noted that until the 1970s, a majority of people naturalising were from European countries. But with increased immigration from Asia, the arrival of Indo-Chinese refugees in the 1970s, and the historically higher naturalisation rate of Asian immigrants, the regional origin of new citizens shifted from Europe to Asia.
Asia was the leading region of origin of new citizens in every year from 1976 to 2006, except 1996-2000. A large number of illegal immigrants, 90 percent of who were from North American countries, were naturalised under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in this period.
In 2007, however, the number of naturalisations of immigrants from North American countries slightly exceeded those of Asian immigrants, the report says. Statistics show that North America and Asia were each the regions of origin of 36 percent of people naturalising in 2007, followed by Europe with 13 percent.