DOJ Notes Citizenship Issue Being Championed by ADC
Internal Government Memo Indicates DOJ Believes USCIS Violating Citizenship Regulations
Washington, DC | April 20, 2006 | California’s San Bernardino County Sun newspaper reported yesterday (http://www.sbsun.com/search/ci_3725658) that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicators are violating their own regulations in failing to process naturalizations within the mandated 120-day time frame. The article cites an internal USCIS memo, issued on March 13, 2006, which outlines concerns the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Immigration and Litigation (OIL) have with USCIS adjudications noting that some individuals seeking citizenship have experienced delays often ten months to 4 years in length.
The memo states, “The Department of Justice is greatly concerned with the number of these actions that are pending. A concerted effort to file such cases in district court . . . is being championed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. DOJ/OIL [Department of Justice and Office of Immigration Litigation] believes that USCIS violates its own regulations . . . in holding interviews before checks are done, and that DOJ is left without a good argument to make when advocating these cases before district courts.” The memo indicates that the DOJ/OIL support ADC’s position on this issue.
ADC is working with immigration attorneys across the country to address the problem highlighted in the memo. Specifically, immigrants are experiencing significant delays in the processing of their naturalization petitions by USCIS. ADC corroborates, via cases directly reported to ADC, that delays can span ten months to 4 years. Because of the 120-day processing time requirement, numerous immigration attorneys who have filed writs of mandamus to compel the processing of their significantly delayed petitions were granted their naturalizations immediately after filing the writs. However, the added writ-filing step that many naturalization petitioners must now take is creating significant delays, and is not financially feasible for all petitioners.
ADC will call attention to this problem through a nationwide legal and media campaign, to take place this upcoming week, when attorneys across the nation will file writs of mandamus for their naturalization clients experiencing delays. ADC will coordinate the effort set to take place in multiple jurisdictions, with press conferences following the filings (details to follow soon.) Based on past experiences, ADC believes that the writs will be granted and the resulting information will show that these delays have been a nationwide problem for immigrants seeking naturalization.