The road to U.S. citizenship is not an easy one. It could even become tougher as the average processing times for naturalization applications has now doubled.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency takes around eight months on average to process U.S. citizenship applications. But many attorneys in New York claim that the wait time to process naturalization applications has doubled since last year. This causes immigrants to wait for a longer time period before they can sponsor their family members for a green card or to register to vote.
Attorney Angela Fernandez, the executive director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, says that many applicants have been waiting for around a year to get a decision on their naturalization applications.
The spokeswoman for USCIS, Katie Tichacek, said that the delays in processing is due to the surge in the number of naturalization applications. Tichacek said that the delay is due to the 24 percent increase in naturalization applications received since the last fiscal year. The spike in the number of naturalization applications is because of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. As the number of applications the agency has received has gone up, the backlog has also gone up. USCIS is now trying to cut down the backlogs by filling vacancies and working overtime.
According to attorney Neena Dutta, many legal residents are seeking U.S. citizenship to ensure that they can stay in the U.S. permanently. Immigration crackdown under the Trump administration is the reason why many green card holders are applying for citizenship. Immigrants want to protect themselves as they feel they are not safe in the country as green card holders. So they believe it is wise to apply for citizenship as U.S. citizens will not be deported from the U.S.