4th of July Naturalization Ceremonies
On America’s 245th birthday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held 170 naturalization ceremonies between June 30 and July 7, including a ceremony at the White House with President Biden and a virtual ceremony for overseas military members. More than 9400 people became citizens in ceremonies nationwide.
Biden Administration Strategizes On Citizenship
USCIS announced its “Interagency Strategy for Promoting Naturalization,” a multi-department working group with the goal of alleviating challenges in the naturalization process, building outreach for legal permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship, and speeding up the process altogether. In May, Boundless filed a public comment urging the government to tackle the massive backlog — there are currently at least 700,000 green card holders awaiting U.S. citizenship.
Canada/U.S. Travel Restrictions Loosen
Pandemic-related travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada will start to ease, with plans to fully reopen in the next few weeks. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can return to Canada from the U.S., but non-essential travel is still banned between the two countries until at least July 21st.
Deported Veterans Get A Second Chance
The DHS is working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow immigrants who served in the military and were deported — along with their families – to return to the United States legally. The goal is to create a “systemic approach” to these cases, but also to ensure they have access to benefits. An excerpt from the DHS memo states: “The overall objective is to support humane and consistent outcomes.”
USCIS Settles Blank Space Rejections Fight
USCIS has reached a tentative agreement with three people whose immigration applications were rejected because of the Trump-era “No Blank Space Rejection Policy.” If approved by the California Federal Court, the settlement could affect upwards of 60,000 immigrants in the United States who applied for humanitarian relief or for lawful status but whose applications had been denied because they left a blank space on a petition or form.