Over 754,700 immigrants have been given U.S. citizenship in the second year of Donald Trump’s Presidency, the highest number since 2013, according to a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) spokesman on Wednesday. The figures are a reversal of the slump in citizenship numbers that occurred during the 2017 fiscal year.
Michael Bars, the spokesman for USCIS, said the agency had to deal with an unprecedented and record workload across 2016 and 2017 that amounted to almost two million applications. He said that the agency coped with the increase by adding new staff members and creating four new offices, including a Dallas-based application processing center, set to open soon, while expanding another ten.
Bars added that the backlog of applications pending more than doubled during President Barack Obama’s time in office, from 291,800 in September 2010, to almost 700,000 in early 2017. In 2017, nine out of ten applications for US citizenship were approved, a similar rate to that given by the Obama administration, with the final numbers for the 2018 fiscal year, from 30 September 2017 to 1 October 2018, still being counted and likely to rise further over the next few weeks.
The greatest numbers of new US citizens in the 2017 fiscal year came from California, in first place, followed by New York in second place, and then Florida and Texas, according to a report released last month by the Department of Homeland Security.