3 Naturalization-Related News Stories

Secret Program delays Muslim Applicants, Companies Help Workers to Naturalize, and Some Choose NOT to Naturalize

From the Wall Street Journal:

Citizenship Agency Faulted Over Delays for Muslim Applicants: ACLU Sees Discrimination in a Secret Program; Backers Cite Terror Threats to U.S.

A previously undisclosed program to identify people with terrorist ties who are trying to become naturalized citizens has indefinitely delayed applications of thousands of legal U.S. residents, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

Established in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security's Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program, or CARRP, uses information kept by law-enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to determine whether an individual is a "national security concern," according to government documents obtained by the ACLU through Freedom of Information Act requests and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The ACLU said the program casts an overly wide net and discriminates against people based on national origin and religion. For example, it ensnares applicants who simply attended a mosque subjected to law-enforcement surveillance, the ACLU said...(see the rest of the story here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323423804579023250536841912.html) or download the ACLU report here: http://www.aclusocal.org/CARRP/

From the Boston Globe:

Companies Help Citizens Obtain US Citizenship

For immigrants working toward the American Dream, some employers are now helping them reach their dream of becoming Americans.

Health clinics, hotels and a clothing factory are pairing up with immigrant advocates to offer on-site citizenship assistance as one of the perks of the job in greater Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and Silicon Valley as they aim to make naturalization more convenient for the 8.5 million legal immigrants eligible to become U.S. citizens.

The effort is billed as a win-win for both employee and employers: Workers avoid legal fees and having to shuttle to and from law offices to complete applications; companies create a deeper bond with immigrant workers and there’s little cost as nonprofits pick up the tab.

‘‘You create some sense of loyalty,’’ said Leonie Timothee, human resources manager at InterContinental Miami, a luxury hotel that has helped six employees apply to naturalize since last year. ‘‘It is going to be a part of you for the rest of your life, and to know your place of employment helped you, assisted you in becoming a citizen — I think that’s a great deal.’’  (see the rest of the story here: http://www.boston.com/business/news/2013/08/03/companies-help-immigrants-obtain-citizenship/9bRJw9g1HJFJgR3khVTAyM/story.html)

And from the New York Times:

Making Choice to Halt at Door of Citizenship

…as legions here and abroad pin their hopes on becoming American, and the country wrestles with emotionally fraught questions over who should have that right, there is a seemingly contradictory truth: that millions of people who are in the country legally, and stand on the threshold of citizenship, never take that next step.

According to some estimates, about 40 percent of all people who hold green cards, the gateway to citizenship, do not naturalize. Of those, many may want to apply but are deterred by a variety of reasons, including the $680 application fee or the requirement that most applicants must prove they can read, write and speak basic English, immigrants’ advocates said. Some countries — including Japan, China and Iran — generally do not permit their citizens to acquire a second nationality, forcing a difficult choice.

But alongside those potential applicants, there is a vast population of green card holders who have everything they need to naturalize, including the language skills, money, sufficient time of residence in the United States, permission from their native countries and a clean criminal record. All they lack is the desire. They simply do not want it — or want it enough — and cite various reasons, including an overriding patriotism for their native country, disaffection for the policies of the United States government, even simple fecklessness.

(See the whole story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/nyregion/making-choice-to-halt-at-door-of-citizenship.html?_r=0)