Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

HispanicHeritageMonthSept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. In 1968, Congress authorized a weeklong celebration beginning Sept. 15 — the anniversary of independence for five Central American countries. In 1989, the celebration was extended to a full month.

As of July 1, 2014, 55 million people of Hispanic origin lived in the U.S., making up 17 percent of the U.S. population. These individuals had their roots in Mexico (64 percent), Puerto Rico (9.5 percent), Cuba (3.7 percent), El Salvador (3.7 percent), the Dominican Republic (3.3 percent) and Guatemala (2.4 percent), with the remainder from elsewhere in Central and South America, Spain and elsewhere.

More than a third of Hispanics in the U.S. (35 percent) are foreign-born. Of those born outside the U.S., about a third (32 percent, or 6.2 million) are naturalized U.S. citizens.

In 2013, more than 218,000 people from Mexico, Central and South America became naturalized citizens. That number represents 28 percent of the total number of naturalizations for 2013. Mexicans were the largest group, with nearly 100,000 becoming U.S. citizens in 2013.

The majority of U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who came from Latin America are eligible to naturalize. The Office of Immigration Statistics estimated that in January 2013, 3,280,000 Mexican nationals were lawful permanent residents. Of those, 2,670,000 (81 percent) were eligible to naturalize. Other Hispanic national origin groups with large populations of LPRs eligible to naturalize are Dominicans (300,000, or 62 percent of the Dominican LPR population); Cubans (290,000, or 71 percent of the Cuban LPR population); Salvadorans (250,000, or 78 percent of the Salvadoran LPR population); and Colombians (140,000, or 61 percent of the Colombian LPR population).

New Americans Campaign partners are working every day to encourage lawful permanent residents to become U.S. citizens. This monthlong celebration offers a time for reflection on the next steps for those still eligible to naturalize.

Posted on September 21, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More