JOURNEY TO CITIZENSHIP NOT WITHOUT ITS BUMPS
Velasco's application was processed in five months, considered a little longer than typical. But compared to what Tariq Saeed faced, hers was a walk in the park.
Saeed, who lives in Lombard, waited three years while the FBI conducted a name check, a process that typically takes a few days. He and his wife applied together in March 2004; she received her citizenship later that year.
"We thought it was OK and [that] the procedure took this long," Saeed said. "But after a few months I learned that in Chicago at least five other husbands had not cleared their citizenship and were in the same situation."
Saeed contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which filed a class-action suit on behalf of the individuals. He became a citizen in March.
"We found that only 1 percent of individuals are caught up in this delay," Bitta Mastofi, CAIR staff attorney, said. "But the numbers as to how many people were delayed used to be two [or so] a year. In the past two years, they have been in the hundreds of thousands."