US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) say that applications for citizenship usually take an average of around eight months to process, but many New York attorneys say the waiting period is now between two to four times longer than was the case last year. This is causing immigrants to wait longer before they can sponsor other family members or register to vote.
Attorney, Angela Fernandez, who is also the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights’ executive director, says some clients have been waiting for approval for almost a year and thinks that the delays are a deliberate tactic. But, the spokeswoman for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Katie Tichacek, says that the delays are partly the result of an increase in the number of applications for naturalization since the previous fiscal year, of as much as 24 percent, and that the agency is now filling vacancies and adding extra hours of overtime.
Tichacek also said that the number of interviews applicants must go through has increased under the Trump administration, as has the amount of extra documentation they must provide. She adds that USCIS has been tasked to make extra sure that applications receive an adjudication result, which is both fair and accurate.
The increase in applications for US citizenship has been attributed to the new crackdown on immigrants conducted by the Trump administration. Attorney, Neena Dutta, notes that many immigrants are seeking citizenship to make sure they can stay in the US.