Huge Rise in U.S. Citizenship Application Backlog Under Trump: Report

The number of pending naturalization applications in the United States has “skyrocketed” under the Trump administration, according to a report by National Partnership for New Americans.


The number of pending naturalization applications in the United States has “skyrocketed” since the Donald Trump administration took over, according to a recent report. Processing rates of these applications has reached as high as 20 months, the report by the immigrant rights organization, National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), said.

The backlog of about 390,000 naturalization applications has increased to around 730,000 over the past two years, since the Trump administration took charge of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency that processes citizenship applications, it added. The report was presented on July 2 at a news conference with House members Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., ABC News reported.

The newest data from USCIS shows a 87.59 percent increase over the backlog of 388,832 applications on Dec. 31, 2015, during the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, the report said.

“There’s been a shocking increase in the backlog. Nearly three-quarters of a million legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship are awaiting processing of their naturalization applications,” Joshua Hoyt, NPNA executive director, was quoted as saying by the publication.

Over 925,000 people applied for citizenship in the United States last year, according to the report.

“They may be waiting for as much of 20 months after submitting a 21-page application, paid the $730 fee, submitted their fingerprints for a security a check and then sat and waited to take an exam,” Hoyt told NBC News. “This is either absolute gross incompetence affecting close to a million legal immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens or it is an intentional second wall that is designed to slow the pace at which lawfully present immigrants can become voters,” he added.

If the USCIS continues to reduce the backlog at this rate, it would take almost 25 years to get back down to the Obama administration’s backlog level of 380,639 applications in 2015, not taking into account new applications, the report said.

The states with the largest numbers of pending citizenship applications are California (137,538), Texas (97,788), New York (94,491), Florida (87,722), and New Jersey (30,896).

The USCIS rejected the claims made in the report, ABC News reported.

“The truth is that the total number of people the U.S. naturalizes each year has remained virtually unchanged. What we’re looking at is a dishonest and desperate attempt by open borders advocates to undermine the work of Homeland Security officials, law enforcement and the administration to protect the integrity of our immigration system and uphold the rule of law,” agency spokesperson Michael Bars said in a statement.

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