Two top Republican senators are raising concerns that the Obama administration is rushing the processing of naturalization applications just so that more new citizens can vote in the November election.
“We write to express serious concern about an apparent push by your department to rush adjudication of naturalization applications before the upcoming presidential election, presumably in an attempt to create as many new citizens as possible,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson wrote in a recent letter to Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson.
The Republicans pointed to a July 21 email in which the branch chief of the Houston field office of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services — a sub-agency of DHS — asked employees to consider working overtime in order to process as many naturalization applications as possible.
“The Field Office due to the election year needs to process as many of their N-400 cases as possible between now and FY 2016,” reads the letter. N-400 refers to the standard naturalization application.
Grassley and Johnson, who chair the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Homeland Security Committee, respectively, expressed two concerns raised by the email.
One is that the naturalization process is being politicized. The other is that speeding up the adjudication process poses risks to national security.
“Your department seems intent on approving as many naturalization cases as quickly as possible at a time when it should instead be putting on the brakes and reviewing past adjudication,” the letter reads.
They point out that a DHS inspector general’s report released last week found that 858 naturalized citizens from “special interest” countries — or those with high rates of terrorism — had deportation orders under another identity.
“Please explain what you are doing or will do to reassure adjudicators that naturalization applications should not be rushed for inappropriate political reasons,” they also wrote.
The letter does not mention it, but the Democratic party and its presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, have ramped up efforts to get eligible immigrants to file for citizenship in time to register for the November election. A naturalization surge would likely help Democrats at the polls.
Non-profit groups that have received citizenship grants from USCIS have also politicized the naturalization process. As The Daily Caller reported earlier this year, several USCIS grantees have pushed immigrants to naturalize so that they can vote against Donald Trump. (RELATED: Obama Admin Funds Blitz To Naturalize Anti-Trump Voters)