New Citizens Get Welcome Letter From Obama Instead of Trump

Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

As is often noted, Donald Trump is president of the United States. But thanks to an administrative screw-up, around 200 recently naturalized American citizens received a welcome letter from Barack Obama instead. Aisha Sultan, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tweeted out an image of the packet her newly naturalized husband received, and though it's from "The President of the United States," it contains no references to Trump, and the letter is signed by Obama.

The packet and letters are distributed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and in a statement to The Hill, USCIS press secretary Marie Elena Upson said that around 200 Obama-signed welcome letters were sent out due to an an administrative error. She also said that roughly 300,000 people have been naturalized in the U.S. since Trump was sworn in, meaning that only a very small percentage of new Americans (.067 percent, to be exact) were mistakenly welcomed by the man who isn't president anymore.

This isn't the first time since Trump took office that Obama was mistakenly represented as still being the president: After Trump's inauguration in January, a traveler at Newark Liberty International Airport reported seeing a video of Obama welcoming passengers in the customs line.

It's also not the first time that Trump, despite being president, didn't deliver a token "welcome" to new American citizens. In June, The Arizona Republic reported that ever since Trump was inaugurated, the newly naturalized haven't been treated to a welcome video from the president at their citizenship ceremonies, as is customary.

Although it may be tempting to conclude that these absences were deliberate, given Trump's contentious relationship with American immigrant communities, Upson said that it's nothing of the sort. In a June statement to The Arizona Republic, the USCIS spokesperson that these kinds of delays are typical when the White House changes hands.

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. During this interim period, USCIS does not provide a congratulatory letter or show a video message.

There are a few other areas of government in which the Trump administration hasn't yet become fully situated. BuzzFeed reported in June that the White House hadn't yet updated its audio tours for the blind with the new First Lady's narration, and as of this writing, there's still no Spanish-language version of the White House website online.