The process for becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States typically takes about six months. However, immigrantion attorneys in California and across the country are taking up the cause of the thousands of Muslims whose applications for citizenship have been funneled into a mysterious program which claims to investigate and root out potential national security threats. Many of these law-abiding residents wait years before their applications are accepted or bafflingly rejected.
One man in Mosul was hired by the U.S. Army to be a translator. He passed the Army’s background screening and served for two years, risking his life countless times. After being rewarded with a special visa, he came to the United States, passed numerous background checks for various security jobs and was eventually granted a permit to carry a gun for his job. Nevertheless, when he applied for citizenship, his request was delayed for two years while the Citizenship and immigrantion Service performed even more prolonged background checks.
Often, people who are singled out for more intense scrutiny have no idea they are being investigated. As a result, they do not realize they need legal counsel. However, it seems that when lawyers are finally called upon by confused applicants, often those applicants are released from the tangle of red tape and granted citizenship.
The most recent estimates are that approximately 42,000 applicants from Muslim-majority countries have been stalled in the program. One couple in California waited seven years to be approved, and another was denied allegedly because he neglected to mention he was on the PTA at the Muslim school his children attended. As more people realize their applications are being treated differently, they are turning to immigrantion lawyers to fight for them. When this happens, they often find themselves moving quickly toward U.S. citizenship.
Source: mystatesman.com, “Stealth citizenship review program delays, stymies Muslim applicants”, Eric Dexheimer, Nov. 23, 2016