With the recent terror attacks in New York and the suspect having come into the country through the Visa Diversity Program, President trump suggested the closure of the program itself. This, after he initiated a travel ban, increased vetting of all incoming immigrants, severely tightened the norms surrounding work related visas, closed the borders for all refugees and doubled on deporting illegal immigrants. Obviously, this has led to a lot of uncertainty, not to mention unrest among the people coming to the United States. Ironically, this rhetoric has brought in an equal amount of distrust among existing citizens as well, as is seen in the recent numbers of renunciations of US citizenship.
Data from the Treasury Department shows that the past couple of years have shown a consistent 26% rise in the number of people expatriating from the US. Just this past quarter of 2017 has seen 1,376 Americans renounce their U.S. citizenship. If this trend continues into the last quarter, 2017’s annual tally is expected to be 6,813. This can be accounted to the stress experienced by the recent developments surrounding immigration. According to Bloomberg, 63% report being stressed about the future of the nation.
On the other hand, however, this same uncertainty has triggered a surge in citizenship applications as well. With the increasing pressure being put on tightening the ways in which immigrants can come and stay in the United States, there is an unpredictability for the existing residents making 2016 the busiest year in a decade for naturalization applications. The legal permanent residents or Green Card holders, as they are commonly referred to, are on precarious grounds today. Since the green card allows them to work and remain in the country enjoying similar rights and privileges as a citizen, becoming one wasn’t priority. But now they feel the need to rush into converting these green cards into being citizens since they are still threatened with deportation.
About 8.8 million people are eligible to become American citizens today of which, the fiscal year 2017 has already seen 783,330 people filing applications to be naturalized so far. This will protect them from revocation of status, deportation as well as facilitate convenient re-entry into the country.