Anyone tuning into the nightly news, browsing the websites of preferred media outlets or listening to the hourly bulletins on their car radio is understandably inundated with all sorts of stories covering the 2016 presidential election. Indeed, much of this coverage has been -- and will continue to be-- dedicated to the hotly contested topic of immigration.
Interestingly enough, recent reports show that the number of online searches relating to citizenship have increased dramatically over the last few months, while the number of citizenship applications has seen a similar rise. Perhaps not surprisingly, questions have now arisen as to whether there is any correlation between these phenomena and the inflammatory immigration rhetoric attributable to certain candidates.
Regarding the uptick in online searches, data provided by Google and analyzed by researchers at TIME found that from January 10 onward, online searches relating to citizenship have spiked to levels higher than those reached during the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.
As for the increase in citizenship applications, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data shows that the agency received 439,887 applications from October 2015 to March 2016 versus 412,414 applications over the same timeframe in 2012, an increase of roughly 6 percent.
As to the issue of whether these phenomena can be attributed to the aforementioned inflammatory immigration rhetoric espoused by certain candidates -- meaning whether people are naturalizing in greater numbers because they want to vote for their candidate -- experts actually believe it's actually only one of several factors.
The more likely reasons for these increases, they argue, is that election years almost always see increases in citizenship applications regardless of who is running and that the recent hiatus in President Obama's expanded efforts to delay deportation has resulted in many immigration advocacy groups transferring their resources to naturalization efforts.
It will be fascinating to see how things continue to play out over the next six months. Stay tuned for updates.
If you have any question or concerns relating to the complex naturalization process, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can provide the necessary assistance as soon as possible.