Immigration naturalization backlog campaign


Lina Bhatti

Date published: Wed, 8 September 21


Join this campaign to address the naturalization backlog. Signing this letter on behalf of your organization will be advocating for an anomaly of $500 million for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to address the growing naturalization backlog. 

There are over 9 million permanent residents who are qualified for US citizenship, according to the Niskanen Center. However, these residents have not gone through the naturalization process. Although there are some reasons relating to the individual themselves for not going through with naturalization, such as lack of English proficiency, not wanting to commit themselves to the American Constitution, and so on, procedural and administrative barriers are significant. The naturalization application backlog is a significant reason for the slow process. Naturalization applications increased during 2015-2017 and in 2019. The USCIS’s process of naturalization applications has thus been backlogged since 2015, while the waiting list grows by more than double. 

In 2015, applicants waited an average of 5.8 months for USCIS to process their naturalization application, but by 2018, the wait time has increased to an average of 10.2 months. Last year, the USCIS had almost one million pending cases and an average wait time of 9.3 months. 

The Niskanen Center has analyzed that encouraging naturalization benefits both permanent residents and the US. The economic benefits of naturalization include an array of effects – increases in wages, employment rates, and homeownership. Furthermore, an increase of naturalized citizens promotes civic engagement, particularly through the right to vote. 

The Biden administration has expressed intent to prioritize naturalization. Signing this letter would allow further prioritization of the Biden administration to address the naturalization backlog and work to alleviate the issue. Please click here to sign the letter on behalf of your organization!