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Backlog of applications for US Citizenship worsens

When people decide to become citizens of the United States, they generally do so with optimism and a sense of excitement. Though they understand that legal processes must be followed, they may feel anxious to start the new chapter of their lives. Unfortunately, many cities across the country, including some here in New York, are reporting that unprocessed citizenship applications are piling up and not being processed as quickly as they have been in the past.

Officials are saying that the wait time to have a citizenship application processed has doubled from about five months to ten. In some cities around the country, the wait is even longer, with some reporting a 31-month wait. Almost nine million immigrants qualify for citizenship, but many decide to renew their legal residence rather than pay the steep application fee or take the necessary tests. The backlog is attributed partly to a sharp rise in citizenship applications over the last few years. Immigration advocates claim that spikes in applications have happened during previous administrations and agencies were always able to catch up fairly quickly, but that this is no longer the case.

Supporters of more strict immigration policy admit that there has been closer inspection on applications but say that it will ensure the veracity of the applications. Some immigrants who have already become U.S. citizens have had their cases reviewed to ensure that they did not obtain their citizenship through fraudulent means. However, immigrant-friendly organizations say that the added scrutiny is undermining the naturalization process.

Immigrants here in New York who wish to apply for U.S. citizenship may want to consult an immigration attorney. An attorney can assist a person with the entire process and help navigate through any setbacks. Doing so can offer an immigrant the best chance at obtaining citizenship and starting a new life.

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