Trump Hosts Naturalization Ceremony While Building “Second Wall”

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Washington DC  – The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a national coalition of immigrant and refugee rights organizations in over 30 states, condemns the blatant hypocrisy of President Trump holding a naturalization ceremony at the White House today while making it more difficult for immigrants with lawful permanent residency to become citizens.

Politico reports that Trump will use a U.S. citizenship ceremony as a backdrop for his government shutdown/wall speech later this afternoon.

“President Donald Trump sharing remarks during his shutdown over his border wall in front of a U.S. citizenship oath ceremony is like Soviet strongman Leonid Brezhnev giving a speech on freedom in front of the Berlin Wall. President Trump has worked systematically to build a ‘Second Wall’ to prevent immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens and fully participating in our democracy,” said Luis V. Gutiérrez, NPNA Senior Policy Advisor and former Congressman.

There are currently over 750,000 immigrants who are caught up in the “Second Wall” of citizenship application backlogs of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Waiting times for USCIS to process these applications have increased under the Trump administration from an average of 6 months or less to as high as 23 months. This puts immigrants’ ability to fully participate in our communities and democracy at great risk and diminishes the likelihood that they will be able to vote in the 2020 elections.

The Trump administration has also proposed regulations that would cut off access to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of elderly and working poor immigrants by reversing an Obama administration policy that allows for a fee waiver for low-income applicants who cannot afford the fee of $725 to apply for citizenship. NPNA has previously condemned the administration for proposing such a policy that limits access to citizenship to only the wealthy and has submitted public comments to the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS, urging the administration to withdraw the un-American proposal.

As Trump nears his two-year anniversary by holding the government and nation hostage with his shutdown and demanding an unnecessary and harmful wall, NPNA and our leaders stand unified in condemning attacks on immigrants who have helped to build our country throughout our history, from those seeking refuge at the border to those applying for citizenship. We call on all legal permanent residents who are eligible to naturalize to apply for citizenship as soon as possible in order to make their voices heard and contribute fully to our nation.