Building a Second Wall: USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming Citizens

Report Author: 
Emily Gelbaum
Original Date of Publication: 
2017 Oct

Green card holders have applied for citizenship in record numbers since 2015. In the last two years, some 2 million immigrants have applied for citizenship. During this same period, backlogs in processing applications have soared from 399,397 to 708,638, leading to wait times of one year or more and creating a "second wall" to citizenship. In this report, Emily Gelbaum from the National Partnership for New Americans points out that this backlog prevents immigrants from accessing the full benefits of U.S. citizenship, including the right to vote. Delays in naturalization also frustrate the historical goal of creating a better-informed citizenry. Studies also show that naturalization has a positive economic impact, improving immigrant income by an average of 10 percent. The delay in naturalization blunts this effect. The author suggests that the naturalization backlogs are a form of disenfranchisement and urges USCIS to dedicate resources to reducing the application processing time to six months. The report also provides state-by-state breakdowns of citizenship applications filed, approvals received, and pending applications over the last two years. (Mia Fasano for the Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

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 USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming Citizens

Citation: 

Gelbaum, E. (2017). Building a Second Wall: USCIS Backlogs Preventing Immigrants from Becoming Citizens (p. 26). National Partnership for New Americans. Retrieved from http://partnershipfornewamericans.org/portfolio/npna-report-building-a-s...

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