According to new figures from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the countries where most of these new citizens came from were Cuba, the Philippines, India, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, interviews and ceremonies were suspended, resulting in a backlog of applications that got approved only last year. Additionally, at the beginning of the pandemic, financial problems plagued the USCIS, which heavily relied on application fees, lead ing to a reduced workforce capacity and the closure of its field offices. There was also a hiring freeze at the agency between May 2020 and April 2021, leading to a shortage of adjudicators overseeing the application process. Under the Biden administration, the USCIS said it “returned to firmer fiscal footing, with cash reserves well on their way to the designated target level, to ensure the agency avoids another fiscal crisis.” Also, twice as many employment-based immigrant visas were issued in 2022 as before the pandemic.
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