As immigrants account for an increasing proportion of American youth, understanding how these young people experience change in their citizenship status is an important, yet rarely examined area for research. There is a plethora of evidence that opportunities to participate in American society are stratified according to class, race and ethnicity. Although formal citizenship confers important social, political and economic rights that may attenuate the effects of these intersecting factors, it may be difficult for adolescents to appreciate the longer term benefits of naturalization when their everyday experiences involve racial discrimination. In this paper we analyse the first two waves of the Children of Immigrants. Longitudinal Study to examine the effects of acquiring citizenship on perceptions of inequality and discrimination.