Jennings Immigration Law Office

Naturalization Delays Will Likely Deny More Than 500,000 Potential Voters

 

The presidential election has generated heightened interest for eligible persons to become U.S. citizens in order to exercise the right to vote. United States Immigration and Citizenship Services reported in mid-September that it had received nearly 1 million naturalization applications since the same time in 2015—an increase of 31.2 percent over the prior year. USCIS has been unable to keep up with this increased activity, however, and is facing a backlog of 524,014 naturalization applications as of the third quarter of 2016. Processing times have nearly doubled in some jurisdictions. This huge backlog of naturalization applications at USCIS will deny voting rights for those people who have not been able to complete the process in time to meet voter registration deadlines–a frustrating result since this particular election was a motivating factor for many new applicants.