Trump Administration Claims Citizenship Numbers Are Increasing
According to a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. citizenship numbers are at their highest since 2013. USCIS says that over 754,700 immigrants have become U.S. citizens during the second year of Trump’s presidency.
The figures released by USCIS come as immigrant advocates vocalize concerns about whether the Trump Administration’s “extreme vetting” procedures pose an obstacle for people trying to become citizen’s before the midterms in November.
Michael Bars, spokesman for USCIS, said the agency had a “record and unprecedented” workload in 2016 and 2017. Bars said that close to 2 million applications were received during this time. To help keep up with the increased workload, USCIS hired additional staff and opened four new offices. The agency also expanded 10 other offices and has a larger application-processing center that will be opening soon in Dallas.
Bars also claimed that the backlog of pending applications more than doubled while Obama was in office, citing that the agency went from 291,800 applications in September 2010 to nearly 700,000 in the beginning of 2017.
Speaking about the increased citizenship numbers, Bars said, “For those seeking the great privilege of citizenship, this dream can and will become a reality if committed to seeing our lawful process through to completion. This is a solemn promise we hold with the highest regard.”
A homeland security report released in August showed that the number of new citizens dropped by 6% during fiscal 2017.
The trump administration has been under pressure from Democrats, local officials, and lawyers from Utah to Georgia to do more to reduce the backlog of citizenship applications. Under president Trump, wait times for these applications can take more than 10 months. During Obama’s presidency, applying for citizenship took an average of six months.
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