More than 200 immigrants participated in a naturalization ceremony in Miami last week. The number of immigrants who took their oath of allegiance and became U.S. citizens in South Florida reflected what appears to be happening around the country in recent years. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say the last two years have seen an increase in citizenship applications.
A USCIS district director in South Florida says that government statistics generally show an increase in citizenship applications every four years. The district director told the Miami Herald that "The number of naturalizations always goes up when there is an upcoming presidential election." The immigration statistics yearbook issued by the Department of Homeland Security also shows that other important numbers in the area of immigration have shown relative stability or increases over the past year or so. Asylum requests, petitions for permanent residency and deportations are all tracked in the yearbook.
Last month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that the number of deportations in fiscal year 2011 grew to a record 396,906 cases. The agency says that almost 55 percent of the deportees last year had criminal records. That number, however, includes those convicted of misdemeanors as well as those convicted of a felony.
The majority of those who participated in last week's naturalization ceremony say that the upcoming election did not influence their decision to seek citizenship. However, the majority of the naturalized immigrants did indicate they would register to vote. The USCIS district director encouraged the new citizens to participate in the election. During her speech, the district director said, "Among the very important rights you acquired today when you took your oath is the right to vote."
The new citizens participating in last week's naturalization ceremony totaled 205 and represented immigrants from 35 different countries. The ceremony took place at the Miami office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Source: Miami Herald, "Citizenship applications soar in South Florida," Alfonso Chardy, Nov. 2, 2011