For immediate release, October 27, 2017:
New Report Shows Record Spike in US Citizenship Applications, Revealing Unprecedented Processing Backlogs
Lawful Permanent Residents in Pursuit of American Dream Disgracefully Delayed by a "Second Wall", Left Hanging in Limbo for Unreasonable Periods of Time
Washington, D.C. - A new report by the National Partnership for New Americans, Building a Second Wall: USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming US Citizens details 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.
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
The release of these national findings comes on the heels of a recent New York Times exclusive, exposing these irresponsible, heart-crushing delays in processing, while showcasing the pride, resilience, and human spirit of many of these families caught in processing limbo.
Despite the nationwide coordinated nonpartisan efforts led by the Naturalize NOW Campaignand its broad range of stakeholders and coalition partners, the report exclaims 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.
Angelica Salas, Executive Committee Member, National Partnership for New Americans and Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said, " While the persistent attacks from President Trump and his Administration have attempted to demean, criminalize, and dehumanize immigrants, our efforts to encourage those who qualify to become U.S. citizens continues because this is our America too. The fact that large numbers of immigrants continue to apply to become full participants in our democracy is a good omen of great things to come for our country. We trust and will work hard to ensure the Trump Administration does not build a 'Second Wall' to keep eligible immigrants from becoming voting U.S. citizens."
Ben Monterroso, Executive Director, Mi Familia Vota said, "The process can now take up to one year, when previously folks could expect to wait no more than 6 months. Despite these slow processing times, we remain steadfast in our commitment to educating our community and supporting them through their application process. We actively remind people that submitting their applications is precisely what gets them one step closer to having their voice be heard in a big way - by casting their vote in the next elections."
"The good news here is that so many see past the meanness and smallness of the current administration," said Rocio Saenz, President of iAmerica Action , "to the deeper values that bind us as Americans and the continued promise of the American Dream-We welcome them one and all as fellow citizens."
The 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. The report calls on Congress to investigate why these delays are occurring and recommends providing USCIS with a special funding allocation to address their application backlog challenges.
There are few issues within the immigration fields that are not controversial in the current climate - the case of lawfully present and eligible immigrants who have gone through the time and expense of pursuing the dream of U.S. citizenship should be one of them. 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.
Executive summary here.
Full report here .
NIIC in the News
Citizenship Applications Surge as Immigration Talk Toughens, Miriam Jordan in the New York Times. Oct 27, 2017
Trump administration politics embolden immigrants, Stephanie Teatro and Tara Raghuveer in the Tennessean. Dec 8, 2016
Preview Story. Veronica Salcedo for Nashville Noticias. Dec 8, 2016
Keeping Diversity, Inclusion in America. Mauricio Calvo in Memphis Daily News. Dec 9, 2016
We the People: TN Hosts Immigration Conference. Stephanie Carson in Public News Service. Dec 8, 2016
Immigration conference held in Nashville as 'model gateway city'. Ariana Sawyer in The Tennessean. Dec 9, 2016
America still a welcoming land for refugees, immigrants. Mai Orsino in The Commercial Appeal. Dec 10, 2016
Local immigrants seek to secure status in face of Trump Administration's promised deportation push. Steve Johnson in the Times Free Press. Dec 11, 2016
Pineda-Loher: Diversity in Chattanooga. Gladys Pineda-Loher in the Times Free Press. Dec 11, 2016
Letter: America, refugees, immigrants need each other. Drocella Mugorewera in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Dec 11, 2016
Restaurateur Eddie Huang talks immigrant rights in Nashville. Stacey Barchenger in The Tennessean. Dec 11, 2016
National Immigrant Conference Held in Music City. Brandon Marshall on WTVF-TV. Dec 11, 2016
Largest immigration conference in US meets in Nashville. Nick Caloway on WKRN-TV and WJHL-TV. Dec 12, 2016
Immigrant, advocates convene ahead of Trump inauguration. Jonathan Mattise for the Associated Press. Dec 12, 2016 (Also published in WZTV-TV, VOA News, Oroville Mercury Register, Mexico Star, Big News Network, Edwardsville Intelligencer, 680 News, Gettysburg Times, Aberdeen News, Beatrice Daily Sun, Daily American, News 1130, 570 News, 660 News, El Paso Inc, The Telegraph, Lancaster Online, Paradise Post, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Times Colonist, Lillooet News, The Squamish Chief, The Chronical Herald, East Oregonian, The Tribune, Weyburn Review, The Daily Progress, Houston Chronicle, Bellingham Herald, Beckley Register-Herald, Myrtle Beach Online, The Olympian, Eureka Times Standard, The Modesto Bee, Reading Eagle, The Bristol Herald Courier, Chico Enterprise-Record, Kentucky.com, Westport News, The Wichita Eagle, The Fresno Bee, Belleville News-Democrat, Salon, The Eagle, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Lethbridge Herald, CFJC Today, The Herald Online, Merced Sun-Star, Huron Daily Tribune, The Daily Astorian, San Antonio Express-News, Braedenton Herald, Winnipeg Free Press, The Charlotte Observer, Centre Daily Times, Tri-City Herald, Gilette News Record, CT Post, News 13 Orlando, Midland Daily News, Central Florida News, The Hour, My San Antonio, MetroNews Canada, Washington Times, Danbury News Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Miami Herlad, The Olathe News, WTOP, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Townhall, Daily Mail, Seattle PI, WRAL, SF Gate, Clay Center Dispatch, West Plains Daily Quil, Yahoo Sorts, Chron, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, ABC News, Colorado Springs Gazette, KTAR, Lynchburg NEws and Advance, Monterey County Herald, Daily Journal, The Republic, Federal News Radio)
Immigrant rights convention shifts focus after Trump win. Jonathan Mattise in the Associated press. Dec 12, 2016
Mexican ambassador: Future could be 'challenging' under Trump. Jake Lowary in The Tennessean. Dec 12, 2016
Red consular mexicana en EUA creará "puentes" en apoyo a inmigrantes. In Terra. Dec 12, 2016
Immigration Reform 2017: Democrats Protest Anti-Immigrant Legislation, Call For Unity In Opposition. Chris Riotta in the International Business Times. Dec 14, 2016 (also published in Yahoo Finance)
Immigration reformers call for unified resistance to Trump's policies. Joel Ebert in the Tennessean. Dec 13, 2016