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.
A key reason: the government's requirements for would-be citizens. The immigrants must shell out at least $680, pass an oral exam, present five years' worth of tax returns and submit to a background check for things such as criminal convictions.Here's an interesting statistic:
Nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens haven't yet taken that step, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic Center. Some immigration experts say that suggests legal status suffices for many immigrants because it removes the threat of deportation and enables them to work legally.Read the whole story HERE.