Saturday, February 15, 2014
William A. Kandel has prepared a briefing on "U.S. Naturalization Policy" for the Congressional Research Service. The summary states that
"Congress is currently considering extensive reforms to U.S. immigration laws, which could affect naturalization policy and the number of persons who naturalize each year. Although concerns regarding U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) petition processing capabilities sometimes arise when large numbers of foreign nationals petition for immigration benefits, the agency’s capacity and recent modernization efforts have minimized excessive processing delays.
Several issues for Congress center on facilitating naturalization. Immigrant advocacy organizations contend that the current level of naturalization fees discourages immigrants from seeking U.S. citizenship. Other immigration policy observers argue that current fees recover the full cost of a process that is intended to be self-financing. Some in Congress have repeatedly expressed interest in facilitating language and civics instruction as a means to promote naturalization. Others argue that English language proficiency as well as civics education is the responsibility of immigrants and not the federal government. Recent efforts have focused on further streamlining and expediting naturalizatio ns for military personnel and in providing immigration benefits for their relatives. Proposals have also been introduced that would revise the naturalization oath to place greater emphasis on allegiance to the United States."