A recent naturalization ceremony in Phoenix saw 79 candidates from 19 countries take the oath to become U.S. citizens, representing a sharp increase in the number of applications.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports a significant increase in applications for naturalization in the past year. As a result, it has caused a slow down in processing times. USCIS Public Affairs Officer Maria Elena Upson says the process is typically a five or six month wait, but now they are up to 10 months.
“There isn’t an exact reason [why there is an increase in applications]…,” Epson says. “Do we tend to see an increase when there is a presidential election? Of course we do.”
Salvador Macias, an immigration attorney with Ybarra-Maldonado Law Group, says there has been a burst of Latino people trying to become citizens. He says it’s because “they’re afraid of what can happen, and now they want a say.”
“I do think that Trump’s presidency has a lot to do with the rise in citizenship applications,” Macias says. “It’s because of fear.”
The USCIS says they are going to be adding a second interview process; previously there has been only one. They also plan to hire more staff to review the high volume of application and extra security checks.