NPNA Report: Building a Second Wall

USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming Citizens

Naturalization Backlogs Double in Two Years

In just the last two years, a record setting 1,957,384 immigrants in the U.S. have applied to naturalize and become U.S. citizens. However, in the same period, the backlog of lawful permanent residents waiting for their citizenship applications to be processed increased from 367,009 to 734,209, a shocking 100.05% increase in the number of pending applications in two years. The exploding citizenship backlogs of the Trump administration have become a “Second Wall” that prevents lawful permanent residents from becoming voting U.S. citizens.

Read NPNA’s Report Update and breakdown of new USCIS data to find how the backlogs are affecting your state and city.

February 5th Report Updates:

Building a Second Wall

On October 27, 2017, National Partnership for New Americans released our NPNA Report: Building a Second Wall, USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming Citizens detailing the sad and disgraceful state of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing backlogs, highlighting two remarkable trends in the history of naturalization in this country.

Key Report Findings:

Despite the nationwide coordinated nonpartisan efforts led by the Naturalize NOW Campaign and it’s broad range of stakeholders and coalition partners, the report shows that such massive backlogs are contributing to the formation of an added barrier and institutionalization of a ‘Second Wall’, that will undoubtedly delay families from permanently protecting their loved ones.  But even more critical still is how this Administration’s perceived ‘slow-walking’ of these citizenship applications will delay long time immigrants, from their much anticipated entry to the ballot box.

Our report offers direct policy recommendations that include urging USCIS to consider prioritizing resources to quickly process naturalization applications and bring the wait time down to six months and we call on Congress to investigate why these delays are occurring and recommends providing USCIS with a special funding allocation to address their application backlog challenges.

All of us should work together to tear down the ‘Second Wall’ of barriers that prevent immigrants from pursuing their dream of U.S. citizenship and rights as equal partners at the table of our democracy.

The findings of this report were covered in the New York Times story “Citizenship Applications Surge as Immigration Talk Toughens”.


NPNA is harnessing the collective power and resources of the country’s 37 largest regional immigrant rights organizations in 30 states.

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