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In the United States, unprecedented high numbers of naturalization applicants, the adoption of restrictive immigration policies, changing demographics, and the 1996 presidential election coalesced in the mid-1990s to make naturalization simultaneously a high priority and problematic. Salvadorans who had immigrated during the 1980s and who were still struggling for the opportunity to naturalize were caught up in these dynamics. A juxtaposition of their struggles against exclusion and of naturalization ceremonies' rhetoric of inclusion elucidates complex and paradoxical connections between naturalization and transnationalism.