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NYLAG File Class Action Lawsuit to Expedite Review of Naturalization Applications

Monday, July 17, 2006

  • Organization: Brennan Center's Legal Services E-lert
Immigrants from several countries have filed a federal class action lawsuit to compel the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review their naturalization applications within 120 days of their naturalization interview, as required by federal law. Represented by the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), each of the plaintiffs has lived in America for several years and is seeking the full legal rights of U.S. citizens, including the right to vote. However, the plaintiffs allege that USCIS has failed to review their naturalization applications within the legally required 120 day window. Some of the plaintiffs have been waiting for more than a year since their naturalization interview to take the oath of citizenship.

Jane Greengold Stevens, who directs NYLAG's Special Litigation Unit, says, "The law is clear that there are time limits. The government is violating them. Our clients are suffering and need decisions." One Uzbekistani refugee, who has lived in the U.S. since 1998, bemoans the delays, saying, "I feel totally helpless and at the mercy of USCIS . . . . I want to be a citizen so I can vote and fully participate in the democracy of the United States. However, I have been waiting so long that I fear that it will never happen."

Immigrants Waiting to Take Citizenship Oath Face Prolonged Delays; NYLAG Files Federal Class Action to Compel USCIS
, U.S. Newswire, July 5, 2006.
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