ACLU and Muslim Group Jointly Demand End to Naturalization Delays

August 1, 2006

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,471735.story

On August 1, 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported, "Serving in the military has been the fast track for U.S. citizenship for many immigrants since the 2001 terrorist attacks. But not for Mustafa Aziz, an Afghan and Irvine resident who served a four-year hitch in the Air Force.

While on duty in 2003, he applied for citizenship and passed the naturalization exam the following year. More than two years later, Aziz is still waiting to pledge allegiance to the country he served, and he is turning to the courts for help.

Aziz is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union and a Muslim civil rights group plan to file today on behalf of 10 Southern California immigrants who have been waiting two years or more for their citizenship. The lawsuit, to be filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accuses government officials of illegally delaying their background checks and allowing applications to linger indefinitely.

The lawsuit says federal law requires government officials to approve or deny a citizenship application 120 days after an immigrant passes the naturalization exam. The suit asks that a federal judge review the files and administer the oath of citizenship. It also asks the court to certify it as a class action and include all immigrants who have been waiting six months or more for naturalization after filing applications at the Los Angeles office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service."