02/05/2013 09:30 am ET

Mexicans Naturalize At Lower Rate Than Other Citizens, According To The Pew Hispanic Center

A pathway to citizenship has been one of the most contentious points of the immigration debate, but according to a new Pew Hispanic Center study, a growing number of Mexican-born legal immigrants are not citizens. The study shows that nearly two-thirds of legal Mexican immigrants have not become citizens. Of the 5.4 million legal Mexican nationals, 36 percent were naturalized in 2011. Nearly twice as many non-Mexican immigrants, 69 percent, took the step of becoming citizens.

Compared to other groups of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexicans have the lowest rate of naturalization. Nearly 61 percent of immigrants eligible for naturalization from the region become U.S. citizens.

However, there may be more behind the simple number of immigrants nationalized than meets the eye.

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