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President Obama Still in White House, According to Letters Issued by Citizenship and Immigration

Janice Williams
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Not in an alternate universe but in the actual United States of America, Barack Obama is apparently still the president—at least that’s what some new American citizens were led to believe when they received welcoming letters that had Obama’s presidential signature on them.

Aisha Sultan, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, shared an image on Twitter of the letter her husband, a British native, received Friday, which included the 44th president’s signature instead of one by the current commander in chief, President Donald Trump.

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Sultan’s husband isn’t the only recently naturalized American to receive a welcoming letter with Obama’s signature. About 200 such letters featuring Obama’s signature have been issued to new citizens following an administrative oversight within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices, which distributes the letters in welcoming packages after an immigrant’s naturalization, USCIS Press Secretary Gillian Christensen told The Hill Saturday.

Following Sultan’s tweet, which received more than 177,000 likes and 54,000 retweets as of Monday, a few other new Americans revealed they also received letters with Obama’s signature and even saw a video of the former Illinois senator welcoming them to the U.S. after they took their oath of citizenship.

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Usually, when a new president takes office, the administration will produce new welcoming letters that are distributed to USCIS field offices around the country, along with a video message from the president. The Trump administration has yet to hand over congratulatory letters and video messages to be issued to new U.S. citizens.

Another spokeswoman for the agency, Maria Elena Upson, told The Arizona Republic in June that new administrations typically take a few months to produce letters and videos to be delivered to new Americans. She noted that the letters and videos generally aren’t distributed until the new administration creates them.

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"Following a change in administrations, it typically takes several months for a new letter and video message to be produced and distributed to USCIS field offices," she said. “During this interim period, USCIS does not provide a congratulatory letter or show a video message."

While it’s unclear when Trump’s welcoming letter and video will be distributed, some soon-to-be Americans expressed their desire on social media over the weekend to receive letters that still include Obama’s signature instead of Trump’s.

Despite Trump's hard-line stance on immigration reform, some 300,000 people have been naturalized since he took office in January, Christensen said.

Back in October, a Pew Research Center report found citizenship applications were the highest they had been in four years, based on fears over Trump’s immigration rhetoric. By the end of 2016, citizenship applications were up 8 percent compared with the number of applications that had been submitted around the same time in 2012.

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