The pandemics affect on becoming a citizen

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Maria Elena Upson is a Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She talked about the process to become a citizen, how the pandemic has affected the office, change in civics test 2020 test phased out, and now back to the 2008 test.

She talks about the process that the pandemic stopped. They had to stop interviewing, but she explains they are on their way to some source of normality. They are even beginning to interview again. She said the backlog is different depending on where you live. 

The bigger the office, the more backlog, she explained. This means a small office has less backlog. We talk about if they are seeing a big demand to become citizens. She said there is always a big demand to become citizens.

We look at the requirements to becoming a United States Citizen. Some of these including being a lawful resident (like having a green card), you must be 18 years of age or older, you must have resided in the United States for a certain amount of time, and you have to have been a state resident for at least 3-months before you can apply.

Ted asks what questions the people applying for citizenship have and if there are things that are harder for them. She explains that there are tools online to visit for these questions, like www.uscis.gov.

She said the pandemic impacted this a lot because they weren’t able to go through the process as easily. They also had to become more creative. They would do drive buy naturalizations where an officer would sear them in. She said they came up with creative ideas to keep this going. 

She said this is important because it is their American dream. She talks about background checks and what things they do to make sure that the United States security is good and that the people are there to be citizens and not cause other harm. 

She said they will have to continue to work harder and “smarter”. She said they are not going to compromise national security over an application, but they also want to get these people through the process.

Maria Elena Upson, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security

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