How do migrants make the decision to naturalise? The majority of the literature focuses on the economic costs and benefit calculus of individual migrants, usually those who arrived as adults. Yet a large and growing population of foreign-born individuals arrived as children. Despite spending their formative years in the United States, many remain foreign nationals into adulthood. Based on results from a discrete-time event-history model of naturalisation of 1.5 generation respondents in California this article argues that the cost–benefit trade-offs underlying most accounts of naturalisation decisions will apply in different ways to this population. The article shows that especially for this population the decision to naturalise cannot be conceptualised as an individual choice but is strongly embedded within the family and co-ethnic context which, in turn, introduces symbolic concerns and country of origin related factors into the decision.
Thomas Soehl, Roger Waldinger and Renee Luthra, Social politics: the importance of the family for naturalisation decisions of the 1.5 generation, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2018