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Hawd Ahmed, front left, who came from Somalia, takes the oath of U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony in Boston, Thursday, April 2, 2015. Nearly 400 people from dozens of countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe took part in the ceremony.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Hawd Ahmed, front left, who came from Somalia, takes the oath of US citizenship during a 2015 naturalization ceremony.
NATURALIZATION

Trump’s immigration order doesn’t affect citizenship applications

By David Yanofsky

Update (Feb. 3): Despite assurances by USCIS officials, multiple people involved in naturalization proceedings tell Quartz that they are seeing cases of nationals of the seven countries put “on hold” or stalled indefinitely. A lawsuit document filed Feb. 1 (pdf) by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the ACLU alleges that after the executive order was signed by the president, “at least two department heads within USCIS sent internal communications barring any final action on any petition or benefits application involving citizens or nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya.”

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has confirmed to Quartz that US president Donald Trump’s 90-day suspension on providing “immigration benefits” to nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as part of his executive order on immigration does not preclude those nationals from gaining US citizenship through naturalization.

“USCIS will continue to adjudicate N-400 applications for naturalization and administer the oath of citizenship consistent with prior practices,” a spokesman for the agency wrote in an email to Quartz referencing the form used to apply for US citizenship.

The order, which also prevents nationals of those countries from entering the US, puts no restrictions on travel by US citizens irrespective of an additional citizenship. Thus gaining US citizenship would be a way to avoid these new impediments to travel, while also gaining complete protection against deportation.

An initial interpretation of the order barred green-card holders—US non-citizen long-term permanent residents—of those countries from entering the US as well, but was later changed to remove that restriction. Typically US residents must be green-card holders to become citizens.

While there could always be future changes in law or policy that affect the ability of green-card holders to become citizens, the present order is not one of them.