American Immigration Resumes Momentum as New US Citizenship Hits 15-year High

American immigration – 2 minutes read

According to a new article by the New York Times, nearly one million immigrants became Americans in 2022 after the pandemic delayed the process and prevented hundreds of thousands of people from voting in the 2020 election. Notably, this foreign-born surge in American citizens highlights an important trend to watch: that immigrants are increasing their footprint in the United States not only as the population that lives here but as the population that votes here. 

Covid caused substantial delays in application processing, embassy appointments, and naturalization ceremonies–leaving those who wished to legally migrate or change status increasingly complex and at times, seemingly impossible. 

To apply for citizenship, the following criteria must be met:

Many immigrants come to the United States to achieve their version of the American dream, and to experience freedom and entrepreneurship that either is not accepted in their homeland or has changed over time due to political oversight or other economic factors. However, these aren’t the only types of immigrants facing delays. In fact, political situations within the United States were a large motivator for residents living in the US with a green card to apply for naturalization. 

While the 2022 number shows close to one million new citizens, 2023 is primed to eclipse that number with approximately 670,000 naturalizations still pending as carryover applications in the immigration backlog.

There are also a few changes coming to the naturalization process, such as the oral assessment, which will become more subjective, as candidates will be asked to describe three photographs of everyday activities. The goal is to test general use of the English language, rather than to rely on complex questions that fail to highlight how a candidate might fare in a spoken, everyday conversation.

Green cards through marriage or spouse sponsorship are also taking longer, despite traditionally being a relatively short timeline from application to processing. Now, as we see things pick up with the reactivation of many processes that went dormant during the height of the pandemic, applications and processing are poised to return to a more normal state. 

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