The Washington Examiner recently reported that 21 municipalities – most of them “sanctuary cities” – have pledged to make one million immigrants U.S. citizens this year. The organization spearheading this campaign, “Naturalize Now,” claims that it is already halfway to its goal, as over half a million people have already filed naturalization applications during the first half of this year. But the whole program is a perfect example of the way in which the open borders lobby – in its latest fit of Trump Derangement Syndrome – is attempting to redirect the immigration debate by deceiving the American public
Naturalize Now and its partner municipalities seem to be implying that they can short-circuit the Trump administration’s immigration efforts by simply turning aliens into citizens. They can’t. Municipalities do not have any power to confer citizenship on immigrants. Per the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the authority to establish the rules for naturalization. And Congress, under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act, has placed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in charge of deciding naturalization applications. So, while city governments can set up legal aid clinics to assist foreigners in applying for citizenship, those cities play no part in determining who becomes a citizen.
Actually, Naturalize Now’s big thumb in the Trump administration’s eye is really big ole nothing burger, to borrow words from Hillary Clinton. In order to qualify for U.S. citizenship, aliens must be Lawful Permanent Residents, live in the U.S. for five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen), pay their taxes and not have any disqualifying criminal convictions. So, the illegal aliens and foreign criminals that sanctuary cities are trying to “protect” won’t be eligible for naturalization anyway.
It’s also unclear why Naturalize Now is claiming responsibility for the 500,000 naturalization applications already filed. Although Naturalize Now implies that a record number of immigrants have applied for citizenship because they are afraid of being deported by the Trump administration, the numbers don’t support that claim. Naturalization applications spiked at 1,382,993 in 2007, just before USCIS raised the fee for filing Form N-400 “Application for Naturalization.” Thereafter filings remained relatively consistent. USCIS currently receives between 700,000 and 900,000 citizenship applications each year. There is no indication that this year’s filings will vastly exceed that range.
The fact is, law abiding immigrants have nothing to fear from President Trump or the U.S. government. America has one of the most generous immigration systems in the world. And it offers one of the easiest, most clearly defined paths to citizenship. Naturalization is how patriotic new Americans cement their relationship with their adopted homeland. It’s a crying shame that Naturalize Now is advertising it as an insurance policy against deportation. No matter how hard they try, neither they, nor their sanctuary partners, can make it one.