The suit fits, so go ahead & file it
Q I’ve been waiting to get U.S. citizenship since August, when I passed my naturalization interview. My U.S. senator wrote twice to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the agency reported that it was just waiting for a background check. What can I do to move the case along? Sheryl, Florida
A It is unfair that you have had to wait so long to become a U.S. citizen. Given that your senator cannot seem to get the case moving, your only option left is to sue the government, asking a federal judge to grant you citizenship. U.S. law allows for federal court review of any naturalization case pending 120 days or longer after a naturalization interview.
Green card holders across the nation are facing delays in getting U.S. citizenship. It is true that the number of applications USCIS is receiving has increased recently, but that’s no excuse. Many believe that the Trump administration is ignoring the big backlogs because it knows that more newly naturalized immigrants vote for Democrats than Republicans. If that’s true, it’s shameful. It is about time that someone files a class action suit challenging these delays.
Meanwhile, if you decide to challenge the USCIS in federal court, make sure that your lawyer carefully reviews every detail in your immigration history; you can be sure that the government will look carefully at your immigration history to determine whether it can challenge your right to naturalize.
Q I am a former asylee. I got my green card, then became a U.S. citizen. If I travel to the country where I was persecuted, will I have a problem returning to the United States? Name withheld, Queens
A Unless you committed fraud when applying for asylum or permanent residence, your travel shouldn’t be a problem. First, taking away a person’s U.S. citizenship is very hard. And, the fact that you return to a country where you once faced persecution, doesn’t mean your fear of persecution when you applied for asylum wasn’t genuine. Conditions in countries change. Moreover, just because you couldn’t live in your home country, doesn’t mean you can’t visit. Travel safe!