Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Immigration bureaucracy plagued by delays. It will take an average of 18 months to process petitions from legal immigrants applying for citizenship between now and 2010, compared to seven months or fewer in 2007.
HERE'S another glimpse into the broken U.S. immigration system: It will take an average of 18 months to process petitions from legal immigrants applying for citizenship between now and 2010, compared to seven months or fewer in 2007.
That's what Emilio T. Gonzalez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, the New York Times reported
Gonzalez blamed a rush of immigration applications last summer ahead of a 66 percent mid-year fee increase. When the increase was announced in January 2007, he promised to reduce waiting times for both naturalization and permanent-resident visas by year's end.
His agency has a longtime reputation as slow and bureaucratic. Delays were no doubt made worse by gearing up for post-Sept. 11 criminal background checks, but that does not excuse government incompetence more than six years later.
Perhaps the new federal employees being added to handle immigration documents will help, but Gonzalez could not guarantee that immigrants who applied last summer to become citizens will be able to vote next November. They still may not be naturalized by then.
There's a recurring refrain among some immigration critics questioning why new immigrants don't work harder and faster to become U.S. citizens. The truth is that many of them are doing everything they can, but our government manages to erect obstacles in their path.
This is but one example of the ineptness that Congress and the White House must address when leaders resume the debate about immigration reform.