03/04/2013 08:50 am ET

Many Immigrants In The U.S. Do Not Complete The Naturalization Process

For 13 years, Rafael Cohen, an immigrant from Mexico, was eligible to become a citizen of the United States. But something held him back.

“I guess I felt I was maintaining more of a connection to my Mexican citizenship by remaining a green card holder than actually becoming a citizen,” said Cohen, 36, a musician who moved to the District when he was 9 and became a permanent resident in 1994.

Finally, the birth of his daughter last year persuaded him to apply. “Some of the immigration laws that are in place . . . there’s these weird situations where you can be deported as a green card holder,” he said.

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