Immigrants at a swearing in ceremony

Immigrants at a swearing-in ceremony for U.S. citizenship at the Los Angeles Convention Center in 2007.

Applicants for U.S. citizenship are waiting months longer than they are supposed to, a report says.

Over 700,000 applications are currently backlogged, according to a report released Thursday by the Colorado State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The Denver immigration office has an average wait time of 10 months, though legally they are required to process applications within 120 days, the report says. Nationally, the average is 10.1 months, up from 5.6 months in 2016.

The report suggest that the increase could come from policy changes and increased requests for evidence following naturalization interviews.

Professors and students at the University of Colorado Boulder's Law School contributed to the report.

“Naturalizing is an important step in America, and impediments on the ability to naturalize have negative consequences for civil rights, voting rights and the democratic process," said CU law associate professor Ming Hsu Chen in a CU release Thursday. "That is a key concern for the state advisory committee and the commission. Yet naturalization is about more than elections. It is about civic engagement and belonging in America.”

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