THEIR VIEW: A long wait for citizenship

Published on Sunday, 26 August 2018 20:40
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Green-card holders, also known as lawful permanent U.S. residents, are treated horrendously by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services when they apply to become citizens.

They have lived legally in the United States for years, and often decades, but their applications, which once took a few months to process, now drag on for nearly two years in some places. In the District of Columbia, the wait can last up to 17 months; in New York City, it can take 21 months. Nationwide, including places with few immigrants, the average wait is more than 10 months, double the time in 2014 and twice the agency’s own stated goal.

The stupefying waits make a mockery of the agency’s mission statement, which promises to adjudicate applications “efficiently.”

Adding insult to injury, applicants - nearly 90 percent of whom are approved and ultimately become U.S. citizens - are compelled to pay $725 in fees for what amounts to appalling service.

The Obama administration deepened the problem by doubling the list of questions, and therefore the interview times, required of applicants.

The Trump administration made things worse by doubling the workload for immigration officers

President Donald Trump himself is partly to blame for the spike in applicants seeking citizenship, some of whom worry that green cards alone are inadequate protection from his anti-immigrant policies.

Naturalization applications soared to nearly 100,000monthly in the months before and after Trump took office, approaching historic levels.

Even with the protracted waits, the vast majority of those applicants - many impelled by fear of the president - will have become citizens in time to participate in the 2020 elections, often at flag-waving ceremonies where they are lectured on the importance of voting. For a more rational administration, that might provide an incentive to treat these future citizens with more of the respect they deserve.

-The Washington Post

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Sunday, 26 August 2018 20:40. Updated: Sunday, 26 August 2018 20:43.