(WASHINGTON, DC., June 5, 2020) —The Niskanen Center applauds the 14 bipartisan House members that wrote to agency heads this week, urging remote or waived naturalization oaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter explains that USCIS office closures stalled the final stage of the naturalization process for tens of thousands of immigrants, and says the agency should pursue the remote solutions that are available. 

Led by Representatives John Katko (R-NY), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Lou Correa (D-CA), the letter notes, “in addition to providing certainty to thousands of immigrant families, this effort would prevent unnecessary increases to our preexisting naturalization backlog.” 

The House letter comes after Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) sent a similar letter last month to USCIS, urging it to offer remote oaths for eligible immigrants with approved naturalization applications. 

“In recent months, tens of thousands of immigrants had their naturalization ceremonies delayed because USCIS offices rightly closed nationwide due to COVID-19. But unlike businesses, universities, and even the Supreme Court, USCIS failed to adapt meaningful measures to ensure the naturalization process could continue in a time of social distancing,” said Kristie De Peña, Vice President of Policy at the Niskanen Center. 

De Peña added, “these solution-oriented lawmakers are right to urge USCIS to make these common-sense reforms that are within their authority to finalize their citizenship process and make them full American citizens.”

We look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers and their staff in  highlighting the importance of naturalization, and in ensuring efficient, transparent, and accountable processing for all immigrant petitions and benefits. 


The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2014 that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.