A new fact sheet (here, in pdf) on the huge increase in citizenship applications last year:
The processing time for naturalization applications has risen dramatically, from just under seven months to 18 months, as the federal government has struggled to cope with a surge in applications driven in part by a substantial fee increase that took effect on July 30, 2007. The result was pronounced: More than 460,000 people filed naturalization applications in July 2007 — a sevenfold increase over the same period a year earlier. And, during Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, nearly 1.4 million naturalization applications were filed, almost twice as many as during the previous year.
Expect Democratic politicians to start complaining about this and call for “streamlining” the naturalization process. We’ve been there before; in the leadup to the 1996 election, the Clinton White House initiated a program called “Citizenship USA,” which forced INS to cut corners in granting citizenship in order to mint more new voters in time for November. For details on the disastrous results, see here and here.