A new report from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shows more people became American citizens in fiscal year 2018 than any time in the past five years.
“In the last fiscal year, USCIS adjudicated more than eight million requests for immigration benefits, which is a 28 percent increase over the last five fiscal years,” former USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said in a news release.
“USCIS also helped make the American dream become a reality for 757,000 new citizens, a five year high in new oaths of citizenship.”
The agency is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The agency’s 2018 Statistical Annual Report, released Friday, showed that there was a 6 percent increase in the number of naturalizations from 2017 to 2018.
The report also said there was a 61 percent increase in the number of immigrants granted asylum in the United States, rising from about 50,000 in 2017 to almost 82,000 in 2018.
Overall, among all of the categories of immigrants overseen by USCIS, the number served was 32 percent higher than fiscal year 2017, The Washington Times reported.
The report noted that the agency did more than set records for admitting new immigrants.
The Fraud Detection and National Security division followed up on 149,3000 leads in 2018, a 14 percent increase over 2017. It also screened social media in 11,700 cases.
The agency reported that the E-Verify system, which allows employers to learn if potential employees are legally able to work in the U.S., verified 37 million new hires.
Although President Donald Trump has battled illegal immigration, his support for naturalizing citizens was shown in January when he hosted a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office,
“You are now official United States citizens. You have just earned the most prized possession anywhere in the world. We know that. There is no higher honor or greater privilege than becoming an American citizen. Our whole nation embraces you with open arms and joyful hearts. And I know that you will treasure this day forever. And it’s my honor to be with you, and we’ll say that,” Trump said.
“Each of you worked hard for this moment. You followed the rules, upheld our laws, and contributed to the strength and success and vitality of our nation. Now each of you stands here today, before your proud and beaming families,” Trump continued.
The president noted that being a citizen carries responsibilities along with privileges.
“By taking this oath, you have forged a sacred bond with this nation, its traditions, its culture, and its values. This heritage is now yours to protect, promote, and pass down to the next generation and to the next wave of newcomers to our shores. Our history is now your history. Our traditions are now your traditions. And our Constitution is now yours to safeguard, celebrate, and cherish,” Trump said.
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