Immigration Advocates Accuse U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Of 'Second Wall'

Published: Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 12:03pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 4:26pm

Over the Fourth of July week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will swear in more than 14,000 new Americans at ceremonies around the country. But a new report shows a growing backlog in the process has left 730,000 future voters waiting indefinitely.

The National Partnership for New Americans study shows the wait for citizenship has shifted from an average six months to two years, and possibly longer, since the White House administration shifted from Presidents Obama to Trump.

In Arizona, 14,445 applicants were waiting for naturalization six months ago. The study reports that list has expanded by nearly 30 percent since December.

Petra Falcon with Promise Arizona said most of the legal residents on the list have already lived the minimum of five years in the U.S. that's required to apply for citizenship.

"These are permanent, legal residents, in this country for quite some time," she said.

"They've already all had the background checks," she went on, "They've gone by the books, and have been living here contributing, and they've made a decision to become a citizen."

A spokesperson with Immigration Services said the agency remains steady in the number of people it is processing, attributing the rise of applicants to possibly more green card holders applying out of a sense of urgency under the new administration.

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