Naturalizations continue despite shutdown - New York News

Naturalizations continue despite shutdown

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WASHINGTON, DC -

Despite the official shutdown of most functions of the U.S. government, some citizenship naturalization ceremonies are taking place.

Today, at the Manassas campus of Northern Virginia Community College, 38 people became citizens. A federal worker administered the Oath of Allegiance.

How can this federal function be continuing despite the fact that Congress can't agree on a budget? It's a little known fact that the agency that oversees U.S. citizenship, called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is funded almost entirely by the people who want to become Americans. The fees they pay are quite hefty. "It's $595. for a naturalization application," explained Sarah Taylor a district director for the federal agency. "It is $985. for an adjustment-of-status application."

When you multiply those numbers by nearly 700,000 people a year who become citizens, you have an agency that is 95% self-fended, and therefore remains open for business.

The ceremony took place at the college because of an assignment in Prof. Linda Simmons' U.S. Government II class. Her students were asked to figure out a way to create a sense of engagement between the community college and the area it serves.

It was the students' idea to invite people from 24 different countries to their campus for a naturalization ceremony.


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