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Government Fails Law-Abiding Immigrants

Copyright 2006 The Detroit News
All Rights Reserved  
The Detroit News (Michigan)
May 11, 2006 Thursday
SECTION: LETTERS; Pg. 20A
LENGTH: 288 words
HEADLINE: Government fails law-abiding immigrants
BYLINE: Kareem W. Shora
BODY:
The Detroit News reported on April 26 (“Arabs seek citizenship”) that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, decided to stop granting citizenship interviews to legal immigrants until a complete background check is finalized. The Immigration Service took this step in reaction to a national legal campaign it faces in which immigration attorneys are filing dozens of petitions in federal court to compel the federal agency to abide by its own regulations and process citizenship applications within 120 days of a citizenship interview.
This defensive response hits at the heart of the Department of Homeland Security’s priorities and the manner in which it reacts to challenges of concern to our nation.
This disheartening decision penalizes hard-working, tax-paying families for no reason other than the failure by the Department of Homeland Security to address citizenship delays. Instead of addressing the source of the delays, the Immigration Service is doing our country a disservice by failing hundreds of families who followed the rules and believed in the fairness of the citizenship process.
Homeland Security policy-makers should be aware of the negative effect this will have on the department’s image not only in the Arab-American community but also with the millions who are supporting a fair and secure immigration system. Unfortunately, this response is going to make efforts at constructive coordination and communication between the department and the Arab-American and immigrant communities much more difficult.
Kareem W. Shora
Director
Legal Department and Policy
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Washington, D.C.