Protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have forced thousands to flee the country, much of it to the United States. Still, U.S. immigration officials say fewer Venezuelans are getting citizenship than usual, despite the humanitarian crisis and rising violence.
Speaking at a congressional hearing, acting Director Andrew Green said that since the start of the year, 7,000 Venezuelans have gained U.S. citizenship — compared with a typical 1,500 to 2,000 a month.
"We're getting more applicants," he said. "But the majority of applications are rejected or a lot of the applicants don't end up being citizens."
It's hard to know whether this trend is due to the efforts of immigration officials to raise awareness of the political crisis in Venezuela or to fewer Venezuelans wanting to go abroad after attempting to travel to the United States.
In recent years, Venezuelan nationals have tried to flee to America in greater numbers, but many have been turned away because they have documentation indicating they were granted asylum in countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain and France.