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.
- In the time since the 2016 presidential primary elections and now through the Trump Administration’s first year in office – 1,028,647 lawful permanent residents have applied to become U.S. citizens, a 10.5% increase over the same period last year
- Currently there are 708,638 pending applications, an increase of 35.23% in the backlog of pending applications over last year and a 77% increase in the last two years
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”.