New U.S. Citizens Were One Of The Fastest-Growing Voting Blocs. But Not This Year.

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA - JULY 29: A new U.S. citizen sits in a vehicle while being sworn in by an immigration service officer at a drive-in naturalization ceremony amid the COVID-19 pandemic on July 29, 2020 in Santa Ana, California. The naturalization ceremony welcomed around 268 immigrants who took the citizenship oath and pledged allegiance to the American flag as the spread of the coronavirus continues. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person ceremonies for nearly three months to help slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

On March 18, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) closed all of its field offices to public-facing activities due to the coronavirus, effectively putting much of legal immigration to the United States on pause, including naturalization interviews and oath ceremonies. As the months went by, other federal and state agencies turned to virtual infrastructure for their activities, but USCIS held out and insisted that its activities could only be done in person.

In her story, published in FiveThirtyEight, grantee Eileen Guo looks at how this has jeopardized the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of legal permanent residents just months away from citizenship, and how third party voter registration organizations are doing their best to make up for some of the losses.