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The State of U.S. Citizenship

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What's the state of citizenship cases here in September of 2020? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In today's video, we're talking about citizenship, naturalization, the process by which a lawful permanent resident goes from being a green card holder to a U.S. citizen. We thought that we'd make this video in order to talk to you about the things that we've been seeing. Obviously with USCIS having been closed for awhile during the coronavirus, many citizenship cases have been delayed, but above and beyond that USCIS is doing everything they can to slow down naturalization. This is an election year and so we're seeing cases take longer and longer across the country.

One of the nice things about being an immigration lawyer is that is a federal practice. We get to handle cases, not just in St. Louis, where our office is, but also around the country. We're definitely seeing a slowdown in interviews and in approvals. If you have applied for citizenship, you're probably going to take a little bit longer. In a smaller city like St. Louis or Cincinnati, or I don't know, Austin, Texas, you're probably looking at seven or eight or nine months for your interview. If you're talking about a more major metropolitan area, like New York City or San Jose or Dallas, you're probably looking at over a year before your interview.

USCIS has been having all these funding problems. They're also getting a lot of direction from the powers that be to scrutinize every case. These officers are being asked to not just look to see whether someone deserves to get their citizenship, but they're also being told to go back and see if they never should've gotten their green card in the first place, to look at the applicant's complete immigration history to see if there's a way that they can not only deny the naturalization case, but also take away prior immigration benefits and then put people into deportation proceedings.

Another thing we're seeing that has led to a lot of delays at USCIS when it comes to processing your citizenship case is that they have cut back on the number of contractors that they have working there. Cases are getting delayed even further because the officers are not getting the support that they used to have and they're having to do everything themselves. These files laying on their desks on a Monday, all their files for the week, and they have to dig into them. They're not getting the basic background part done, it used to be done by contractors, that's not occurring. Therefore, you're seeing more delays when you show up for an interview, you're seeing the interviews take longer. You're seeing decisions after the interview take longer and longer.

It's all part of the plan. It's all part of the delay. They're cutting back, cutting back, cutting back, even though people's fees are going up on October 2nd. If you're thinking about applying for citizenship, these are the kinds of things that you want to think about. Now we have a few weeks left before the fees go up so if you're thinking about applying for naturalization, you might want to do that sooner rather than later. Fees are going to go up on October 2nd, 2020. In the meantime, this is the latest, this is what we're hearing, this is what we're seeing at USCIS.

If you're thinking about applying for citizenship, you should give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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