50,000 Indians Became American Citizens in 2017, Next Only to Mexicans
As many as 50,000 Indians became naturalized American citizens in 2017, a 10% increase over 2016, even as there has been a drop of 6% in the number of people acquiring American citizenship.
A total of 50,802 Indian immigrants took the American Oath of Allegiance in 2017, becoming the second largest group after Mexicans to become American citizens.
Although the Trump administration is tightening immigration and citizenship rules, there was a numerical increase in the number of Mexicans, Indians, and Chinese citizens giving up their home country passports to become American citizens in 2017, the Times of India reported, citing data from the Department of Homeland Security. During the same time, there was a drop of six percent in naturalization numbers.
In 2017, 15,009 more Mexicans became American citizens than in 2016, an increase of 14 percent, the report said. At the same time, 4,614 more Indians gave up their Indian passports than in 2016, marking an increase of 10 percent, while Chinese citizens came in at third, with 1,880 more Chinese giving up their red passport, an increase of 5 percent over 2016.
However, those aspiring to become U.S. citizens are finding it tougher now, the publication said, citing officials. According to the New York Times, President Donald Trump wants to cap the number of refugees that can come to the United States to 30,000, and that number is the lowest ceiling any American president has placed on the refugee program since its creation in 1980.
Although there is a decline in the naturalization numbers, the number of Indian immigrants who entered the country has seen a massive upswing in seven years. Between 2010 and 2017, 8.3 lakh Indians came to America, the highest among all countries.
The naturalization process gives U.S. citizenship to foreign nationals after they have met relevant requirements. It gives them the right to vote. Only green card holders are selected for the naturalization process.
However, the huge backlolig in citizenship application processing has been a matter of concern for green card holders. According to the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), the naturalization backlog has gone up to 7.53 lakh applications, a 93 percent rise over the 2015 numbers. On Sept. 17, NPNA filed a lawsuit after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) failed to respond to requests to provide documents related to backlog of citizenship applications.
Indians account for the highest number of highly skilled professionals waiting to get the permanent legal status or the green card. As of May 2018, there were 395,025 foreign citizens who were waiting for the green card under the category of employment-based preference. Out of this total number of foreign nationals, 306,601 were Indians, the figures by USCIS showed.