The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it
will finish more than one million naturalization cases during fiscal year 2008
- far exceeding the number of cases completed last year. This update comes
following a thorough analysis of the work completed during the last six months.
"By the end of the year, I expect USCIS will have finished 36 percent more
naturalization cases than last year without compromising national security or
the integrity of the naturalization process," said USCIS Director Emilio
The agency recently updated the expected time it will take to complete naturalization
cases, projecting processing times averaging 13-15 months. That's a three
month improvement from the 16-18 month projection that USCIS made six months ago.
A critical component of the strategy for addressing this workload is to quickly
grow the capacity to handle the influx of additional cases. That includes expanding
the USCIS workforce by adding nearly 3,000 new employees, detailing employees
to work in the most heavily affected offices, quadrupling the funding for overtime
and using Asylum Office facilities and staff to conduct naturalization interviews.
Last summer, USCIS received an unprecedented number of applications and petitions
for immigration benefits. During June, July and August alone, USCIS received nearly
three million filings, compared to 1.8 million filings during the same period
the previous year. This sudden surge included 1.4 million naturalization applications
last year - 460,000 in July alone. While historically filing increases have
occurred in advance of fee increases, Presidential elections, immigration debates
and new legislation, none of the past increases are close to the magnitude of
the last summer's surge.