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US CIS Updates Projected Naturalization Case Processing Time;
Agency to Complete 36-percent More Naturalization Cases than Last Year

Washington, April 2, 2008 - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will fmish more than one million naturalization cases during fiscal year 2008 - far exceeding the number of cases completed last year. This update comes following a thorough analysis of the work completed during the last six months.

"By the end of the year, I expect USCIS will have finished 36 percent more naturalization cases than last year without compromising national security or the integrity of the naturalization process," said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez.

The agency recently updated the expected time it will take to complete naturalization cases, projecting processing times averaging 13-15 months. That's a three-month improvement from the 16-18 month projection that USCIS made six months ago.

A critical component of the strategy for addressing this workload is to quickly grow the capacity to handle the influx of additional cases. That includes expanding the USCIS workforce by adding nearly 3,000 new employees, detailing employees to work in the most heavily affected offices, quadrupling the funding for overtime and using Asylum Office facilities and staff to conduct naturalization interviews.

Last summer, USCIS received an unprecedented number of applications and petitions for immigration benefits. During June, July and August alone, USCIS received nearly three million filings, compared to 1.8 million filings during the same period the previous year. This sudden surge included 1.4 million naturalization applications last year - 460,000 in July alone. While historically filing increases have occurred in advance of fee increases, Presidential elections, immigration debates and new legislation, none of the past increases are close to the magnitude of last summer's surge.

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