Aug 29 2013
When foreign-born US residents apply for citizenship they painstakingly jump through every legal hoop, fill out endless forms, hand over wads of cash, and nervously await a response from the government for months and sometimes years.
They rightly expect their applications to be processed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security. They do not expect to have their citizenship application decided by a law enforcement agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
But, for many Muslim applicants, we now know thanks to the ACLU, that the USCIS secretly consults the FBI to exercise a discretionary authority seemingly designed with Muslims in mind, to indefinitely postpone or deny applications if they deem the applicants “suspicious.”
The FBI does this through a secret program known obscurely as the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP). What’s shocking is that these immigrants who are either Muslim or perceived to be Muslim, never know why or for how long their applications are delayed. They are rarely, if ever, investigated for wrong-doing, and hence, have no opportunity to make their case for citizenship.
In 2009, I was an applicant for US citizenship who faced a similar mysterious delay.
After nine years of living in the US as a student, I married an American citizen and obtained my “Green Card” residency. Five years later I was finally eligible for citizenship. My application passed all the prescribed stages. Then, I undertook the second-to-last step – the dreaded citizenship exam – and passed with flying colors.
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