USCIS is strongly encouraging eligible permanent residents to become U.S. citizens.
In less than a month, USCIS posted six entries (out of a total of eight) on their blog to promote citizenship and naturalization:
- June 1: Visit our Citizenship Resource Center
- May 27: One Woman’s Path to Citizenship: Bangladesh to the United States
- May 25: Introducing: The Citizenship Public Education and Awareness Initiative
- May 19: The EB-5 Program: Creating Jobs in America
- MAY 16: Now Available: USCIS Releases Expanded Civics and Citizenship Toolkit
- May 13: Introducing I-9 Central
- MAY 12: Director Mayorkas Discusses Citizenship Programs with German Federal Minister of the Interior Friedrich
- MAY 06: Do You Want to Become a US Citizen? USCIS Can Help You With the Process
USCIS also launched a series of video, radio and print ads, featuring professional actors telling immigrant stories. “The stories reflect many of the motivating factors immigrants have often noted as common reasons for pursuing U.S. citizenship,” according to USCIS.
I know that most visitors to our websites are still pursuing green cards. With a mounting I-485 backlog, most of you would rather have USCIS spend more time on adjustment of status applications. So if you are disappointed at this new “initiative,” I fully understand. Who can blame an EB-3 applicant, who has waited five+ years and has probably a few more years to go, wanting to see a different priority list.
Even some legal permanent residents may be puzzled by USCIS’ new agenda. The agency is basically trying to persuade long-term green card holders to apply for citizenship. I don’t know how many people simply “forgot” to do so, but I’m willing to bet that a large portion of them chose to remain “green.” If this is the case, I wonder how effective the promotion is going to be.
On the other hand, some permanent residents who can’t wait to become citizens must wait, because of the five-year residence rule (for employment-based immigrants anyway). If a person has already spent more than five years pursuing a green card, while fulfilling all naturalization requirements during that process (physical presence, continuous residence, good morale character, etc.), why can’t the five-year rule be shortened a little bit? Doesn’t it make sense to differentiate it from cases where people enter the U.S. on immigrant visas, and therefore must wait a few years “to be evaluated,” so to speak? Oh well, I know I’m speaking to deaf ears, because such changes can only be implemented by Congress…and that is pretty much the end of story.