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Citizenship Wait Times Have Doubled in the Last Two Years

Aspiring Americans are having to wait almost twice as long to become citizens as they did two years ago. The average wait time is about 10 months, and can be as long as 31 months in places with large backlogs. The long waits come as the Trump administration looks to make it more difficult for green-card holders to qualify and complete the naturalization process. Nearly nine million immigrants are eligible for citizenship, but a steep application fee of $725 and the challenging required civics and English tests have historically deterred many from naturalizing. Now, as Trump promises to tighten immigration restrictions, a new wave of longtime permanent residents are trying to naturalize. The president’s plans have compelled many to seek citizenship in order to cast a ballot, with hundreds of thousands of immigrants poised to become potential voters ahead of the 2020 election. But the growing backlog in applications is making it more difficult for immigrants to become civically engaged. “Far from the public eye, the Trump administration is strangling the naturalization process,” said Steven Choi, a chair of the National Partnership for New Americans.