/ Modified jun 18, 2019 4:43 p.m.

Feds aim to cut processing times for immigration applications

Agency data shows a backlog of more than 700,000 citizenship applications.

Naturalization hero Soon-to-be U.S. citizens taking an oath at a naturalization ceremony at the Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse in Tucson, February 2018.
Nick O'Gara, AZPM

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced a plan to cut the time it takes to process requests to naturalize or become a permanent resident.

The agency’s most recent data shows a backlog of more than 700,000 applications to become a citizen.

Citizenship and Immigration Services said some field offices are busier than others. So the agency will shift workloads between offices to slash the time it takes to process citizenship and green card applications. This means some people may have to go to another city to be interviewed.

The Partnership for New Americans is suing the federal government for records about citizenship applications. Diego Iniguez-Lopez, policy and campaigns manager, said some field offices are close to each other.

“But there is other parts of the country, and middle America, where if you are not going to go to the USCIS office in your city, you’re going to have to travel hundreds of miles,” he said.

Citizenship and Immigration Services said processing times have increased because the number of people applying also rose.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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