A recent report by US Department of Homeland Security released data that identified the countries with individuals that received US citizenship in Yr 2016. According to that report, Indians were second globally who received US citizenship. They are second to Mexicans who topped the list as in the past.
Close to 46,100 Indian green card holders received their US citizenship which is 6% of the total 753,000 individuals who received citizenship during the US financial year 2016. Naturalized citizenship offers more freedom and liberties similarly accorded to citizens by birth like the right to vote, professional mobility, etc. Given the climate of uncertainty surrounding the future of green card holders in the US today, Indians foresee a more secure future with citizenship.
Another interesting feature of this data that reflected this uncertainty was that the total number of petitions for citizenship stood at 972,000. This was a staggering 24% jump among green card holders seeking citizenship compare to the previous year which stood at 783,000. This was in the same picture that has seen a decline in overall immigration to the US, especially from countries like Mexico, India and some from Europe.
All this could be stacked against the on-going anti-immigration rhetoric that came about with the presidential elections in 2016. The insecurities that come from not knowing whether there is a future for anyone who may not be a US citizen gave these applicants, who were content just being a green card holder, a rush to go and apply for citizenship. This is evident in the sudden change even in green card applications. While USCIS received 158,442 applications until September 2016, by the end of December 2016 that number rose to 186,036, a staggering rise of 17.5%. This was directly reflected in the changes in citizenship applications. While it was at 239,628 until December 2016, after the elections it increased by 21% to 289,995 March 2017.
Of course, apart from the fear, there is also the added stress of the time it takes to get a green card itself today. According to a research, it may take up to 12 years for skilled workers to even receive their green card. This puts in a lot of pressure that builds over time to reach the final goal of US citizenship.
For ways to petition for Naturalization, green card holders can go through the procedures at Steps for US Citizenship.