The suit fits, so go ahead & file it

New York Daily News - - NEWS - AL­LAN WER­NICK Al­lan Wer­nick is an at­tor­ney and di­rec­tor of the City Univer­sity of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send ques­tions and com­ments to Al­lan Wer­nick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to ques­tions@al­lan­wern

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!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.