Drive-Up Service Helps Some Take Final Step to US Citizenship
The coronavirus health crisis has led to delays for thousands of people wanting to become citizens of the United States.
The federal agency that processes citizenship requests, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, suspended its in-person services in March. At that time, the agency said there were about 110,000 people waiting to complete the final steps to citizenship.
The process of becoming a U.S. citizen is known as "naturalization." The final step in this process is to take an oath of loyalty to the country at an official ceremony.
Some individuals have been able to complete the process by taking part in an unusual drive-up ceremony.
The drive-up events are designed with physical distancing in mind to protect people from the coronavirus. Those taking part are required to wear face coverings. People remain in their vehicles while taking the citizenship oath. A government official stands a safe distance away to complete the swearing-in process.
One such ceremony took place recently in a parking garage near a federal office building in Detroit, Michigan. When 60-year-old Anita Rosenberger entered the garage, she was a British citizen. Thirty minutes later, after taking the oath, she drove away as a U.S. citizen.
"It was a nice experience in spite of the fact that I was in the car by myself with a mask on," Rosenberger said. "And I will say that I will remember this."
Similar drive-up ceremonies are being held across the country, but possibly not for much longer. USCIS says a budget crisis could force the agency to temporarily release nearly three-fourths of its workforce. If this happens, it could further delay the final citizenship steps for tens of thousands of people.
The citizenship agency has not explained how it will operate if it does not get $1.2 billion from Congress before August 3. It told The Associated Press that "all USCIS operations will be impacted" by the release of more than 13,000 workers.
USCIS receives nearly all its $4.8 billion budget from fees it collects from people who seek to live or work in the country. The agency is already getting less money after President Donald Trump's administration ordered restrictions on immigration. The agency said effects of COVID-19 had reduced the amount by half.
The administration also stopped some programs - including a recent halt on H-1B visas for skilled workers - that provide an important source of money for USCIS.
Some in Congress have pushed to permit virtual swearing-in ceremonies, but the agency has so far refused.
Citizenship groups have warned that the citizenship delays could limit the rights of thousands of voters in the country's elections later this year.
Time limits for election registration are nearing in some states. Individuals seeking to vote must be citizens when they register or risk facing criminal charges or possible deportation, the groups say.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
The United Nations has pleaded for a halt to the bombing.
We would like to apologize for the delay.
He left halfway through the ceremony.
What is their main source of income?
5.USCIS says a budget crisis could force the agency to temporarily release nearly three-fourths of its workforce.
budget crisis 预算危机
The budget crisis also spotlighted a weakening economy.
The budget crisis has forced the president to go back on his word.
6.If this happens, it could further delay the final citizenship steps for tens of thousands of people.
tens of thousands of 成千上万的
I heard tens of thousands of people clapping for me.
Within our own galaxy there are probably tens of thousands of planetary systems.
负责处理公民身份申请的联邦机构美国公民及移民服务局(USCIS)于今年3月暂停了线下服务 。该机构表示，当时大约有11万人在等着完成获得公民身份的最后手续 。
成为美国公民的过程被称为“入籍” 。这个过程的最后一步是在一个官方仪式上宣誓效忠美国 。
驾车入籍的活动以减少人员接触为考量，避免人们感染新冠病毒 。参加者必须戴口罩 。人们在宣誓入籍时需要待在车内 。一位政府官员站在安全距离之外完成宣誓过程 。
该仪式最近在密歇根州底特律市联邦办公楼附近的一处停车场举行 。当60岁的安妮塔·罗森伯格(Anita Rosenberger)走进车库时，她还是英国公民 。宣誓三十分钟后，她以美国公民的身份驾车离开 。
罗森伯格说:“尽管我是一个人戴着口罩坐在车内，但这还是一次很棒的经历 。”“我想说我会记住这一刻 。”
全国各地都在举行类似的免下车仪式，但可能不会持续太久 。美国移民局表示，预算危机可能迫使该机构暂时解雇近四分之三的员工 。如果发生这种情况，可能会进一步推迟数万人的最终入籍手续 。
该机构并没有解释如果不能在8月3日前获得国会12亿美元的援助，它将如何运作下去 。 该机构对美联社表示，1.3万多名员工被解雇后，“所有美国移民局的业务都将受到影响” 。
该机构48亿美元的预算几乎全部来自想在美国定居或工作的人交的费用 。 在特朗普政府下令限制移民后，该机构得到的资金已经减少 。该组织表示，新冠疫情的影响已导致该收入减少了一半 。
在一些州，选举登记的期限已经临近 。这些组织说，寻求投票的个人在登记时必须是公民，否则将面临刑事指控或可能被驱逐出境 。