NY lawsuit demands timely naturalization
A lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of legal immigrants in New York demands that long-delayed citizenship applications be handled in time for the November election.
The complaint, linked here, names several Latino plaintiffs from New York City and is filed on behalf of other citizenship applicants served by the New York district office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (NYC, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam are part of the district.) One plaintiff is a Navy veteran who is unable to get a government job for lack of citizenship; another cannot get a visa for his elderly mother so that she can visit the United States from Mexico. And all, of course, cannot vote for the next president if their cases remain stalled. The suit was brought by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
The complaint demands that applications filed before March 26 by those found eligible for citizenship should be able to naturalize in time to vote. (New Yorkers must register to vote 25 days in advance of the election.) Officials at USCIS in New York said last week that they have stepped up processing to handle a spike in paperwork filed last year, but they repeated estimates that applications would now take 16-18 months on average. The suit says more than 140,000 cases are on hold because of FBI “name checks,” and that hundreds of thousands of applicants are waiting up to two and three years. The law calls for processing to be completed with 180 days.
Other documents related to the case can be found here.
Are you waiting in line for citizenship? Let us know whether or not your application is delayed and how it’s affecting you.