The number of immigrants in the United States seeking and obtaining citizenship increased significantly last year, according to numbers obtained from the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
CIS said 721,268 immigrants, including 9,374 military personnel, became naturalized citizens last year. That is a 22 percent increase over the 2005 numbers, when 588,994 immigrants became naturalized citizens.
The number of people requesting citizenship forms from the CIS Web site also increased. Last year, 696,020 citizenship forms were downloaded, up 15 percent over the 594,260 forms downloaded in 2005.
Meanwhile, federal officials yesterday announced the sweep of more than 750 illegal aliens across the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The weeklong series of raids targeted those who had been deported previously for crimes or who had ignored deportation orders.
The Associated Press reported that 338 illegal aliens were apprehended in their homes and 423 were identified in local jails.
Also on Monday, CIS announced plans to revamp its naturalization test to “create a test and testing process that is standardized, fair and meaningful.” In a “fact sheet,” CIS acknowledged that “various studies found that the exam lacked standardized content, instruments, protocols or scoring system.”
The bureau said the new standardized testing should “encourage civic learning and patriotism among prospective citizens . . . with an emphasis on the fundamental concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”