With citizenship ceremonies postponed, hundreds of thousands could miss chance to vote in November
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the oath of citizenship to an average of about 63,000 applicants per month, according to the agency’s latest statistics. The in-person ceremonies are the final hurdle immigrants must clear before registering to vote as naturalized U.S. citizens.
USCIS closed its offices in mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak and canceled nearly all naturalization ceremonies, which often draw the family members of newly made citizens. Though USCIS is scheduled to begin a phased reopening next week, the agency has not committed to resuming a full slate of ceremonies nor has publicly released a plan for rescheduling the approximately 150,000 naturalizations that have been postponed because of the closures.
Joseph Edlow, deputy director for policy at USCIS, has resisted calls from lawmakers with both parties to begin allowing applicants to take the oath virtually. In response to an inquiry from The Washington Post, USCIS officials said canceled ceremonies will be rescheduled “on a case-by-case basis,” declining to say how many have been scheduled in coming weeks.
[Source: Washington Post]