(CHICAGO, IL, 10/8/07) – The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced today that four of its clients have recently been sworn in as citizens following lengthy delays.
CAIR-Chicago representatives say acquiring citizenship is becoming more challenging as delays reach an all time high.
By law, the time between the final steps of the immigration process and naturalization should be no more than 120 days. However, even after successfully going through the standard process, an increasing number of cases are delayed for as long as three years. Government officials say that heightened security measures have led to a longer, more complex immigration and naturalization procedure.
One of CAIR-Chicago’s clients applied for citizenship in December 2004. Although he was a U.S. resident for six years and successfully completed the naturalization interview and passed the exam, his application was delayed for almost three years beyond the 120 day mark.
He turned to CAIR-Chicago in August 2005 after receiving no explanations for the prolonged state of ambiguity. His case was filed in federal court by July 2006, and the only stated reason for the continued was “delayed background check clearance.” By the end of May 2007, a hearing date was set for September 27. Two days prior to the scheduled hearing, he was suddenly given clearance for citizenship
“It is sad that this client not only had to wait years for adjudication, but he also had to be burdened with filing a lawsuit only to find that there was nothing to justify the wait,” said CAIR-Chicago Attorney Bitta Mostofi.
In a similar case, about two years after successful completion of the citizenship exam in early 2004, another client turned to CAIR-Chicago. A case was filed on his behalf, followed by settlement negotiations with opposing council. The case was resolved on September 25, 2007.
Soon after, on September 28, a third CAIR-Chicago client was sworn in after a similar delay of about two years.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Reem Rahman, 312-212-1520, 217-493-0912, E-Mail: email@example.com