U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services set a five-year high in 2018 for the number of people who took the oath of citizenship – despite heated criticism from Democrats about the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
That criticism largely centers on President Trump’s immigration rhetoric, his push for a border wall and policies cracking down on asylum applications and more. But according to a report released late last week by USCIS, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, the administration has processed citizenship applications at a rapid clip.
The USCIS report comes amid a heated fight between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats over immigration and funding for the president’s proposed border wall. Trump’s critics have lambasted the administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration and argued that its efforts have only worsened a backlog of cases in immigration courts.
U.S. immigration courts currently have a backlog of 850,000 cases with only 450 judges nationwide to handle them despite a record number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.’s southern border, many seeking asylum from the widespread violence and poverty engulfing the region.