WASHINGTON, D.C. – Late last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, released a statement summarizing their 2023 immigration and citizenship data reports, which reveal that the agency naturalized nearly 884,000 New American citizens in 2023. While slightly lower than the previous year’s record-setting naturalization numbers at over 1 million, the data show that USCIS nearly eliminated the naturalization application backlog and nearly halved the naturalization application processing time.
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a coalition of nearly 70 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations, has long advocated for USCIS to reduce their backlogs and improve processing times for immigrants who have waited months and years to be reunited with their families, find greater security in their employment and communities, and obtain citizenship in this country they’ve come to call home. NPNA welcomes these improvements and urges USCIS to continue on this positive trajectory towards welcoming another million New American citizens in FY2024.
Said Nicole Melaku, NPNA executive director, “NPNA is thrilled to celebrate that naturalization hit a 15-year high in the last two years – the result of many local and federal level efforts to improve access to citizenship across the country. While the total number of naturalized people was slightly lower in 2023, we see that USCIS made significant progress towards making their naturalization petition processing more accessible and efficient. With our current politics that can so often cave to anti-immigrant rhetoric and proposals that chip away at workable immigration pathways, we are grateful that USCIS, as a public good agency, has made tangible improvements that work with – not against – New Americans and their families. We look forward to continuing to work with USCIS, other federal agencies, and NPNA state and local partners to naturalize even more eligible members of our communities in this critical year for our nation’s democracy.”
This is a revised statement from one previously issued on January 2.
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition of 69 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations with reach across over 40 states. Together with our members, we advance immigrant and refugee equity and inclusion, build and expand immigration legal services and integration programming capacity, and drive campaigns that strengthen democracy through increased civic participation. See our website for more information at partnershipfornewamericans.org