The latest CIS follies from the New York Times-
Beverly Lindsay, a Jamaican-born practical nurse who has made her home in New York for 26 years, filed for citizenship in June with the help of her union, and prepared for a long wait. After all, as recently as a year ago, the United States government acknowledged a huge backlog in such applications, and estimated that processing typically took almost a year and a half in New York — triple the wait in San Antonio or Phoenix.
Her success, however, underscores the frustration of Sophia McIntosh, another New Yorker from Jamaica who applied for citizenship through the same health care workers union program three years ago. Not only is she still waiting, but her case is also now among at least 960,000 immigrant applications pending nationwide that federal officials have simply stopped counting as part of their backlog — a backlog they had pledged to eliminate by this month.
“It’s not fair,” said Ms. McIntosh, 34, a nursing assistant and mother of two, who has been a legal resident of the United States since 1992. “I did all the right things. I want to be able to have a voice in this country.”
Until recently, the glut of pending cases was so large that President Bush’s vow in 2001 to cut the standard wait to six months or less nationwide seemed unreachable. Now immigration officials say they have more than met that goal, shrinking the average wait to five months for a citizenship decision. And no district shows more dramatic improvement than New York, where the wait has officially shrunk to 2.8 months.
But the numbers are not quite as rosy as they seem. To accomplish their mission, officials at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services explain, they identified and stopped counting thousands of backlogged cases that they now define as outside the agency’s control, mostly those delayed by unexplained lags in standard security clearances by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The result is a two-tier system. More applicants than ever are receiving a decision in record time, in part because of an influx of temporary workers working for the agency and new efficiencies. But others are still falling into the system’s black holes, joining thousands who have been waiting for years, but are now off the map. While praising the agency’s improvements, immigrant advocates contend that officials have manipulated the figures to declare victory and made it harder to seek redress.
Behind the clash over the agency’s new math are anxieties heightened by the immigration debate and looming elections, advocates and officials said. Legal residents who lack the security of citizenship feel more vulnerable to deportation these days and deprived when they cannot vote. And the immigration agency is under political pressure to show that it can handle any new programs without derailing old ones.
“Why should we be faulted for sitting on cases that we aren’t sitting on?” asked Emilio T. Gonzalez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, which now takes responsibility for fewer than 140,000 of the 1.1 million immigrant applications that it identifies as pending for more than six months.
Mr. Gonzalez added that he would soon seek “significant” fee increases to cover the costs of processing applications. The agency is losing many of the 1,200 temporary employees who helped speed lagging cases under a four-year Congressional grant that ended Sept. 30.
But to Laura Burdick, a national deputy director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, raising the fees would only compound the inequity experienced by those who have nothing to show for what they pay — for a citizenship application, the cost is now almost $400. As for the change in the way cases are counted, she added, “It makes you just question the validity of any of the information they’re giving us.”
Data supplied by the government to The New York Times showed some unusual fluctuations. The New York office, for example, has long had the largest pending citizenship caseload in the nation, averaging about 100,000 through much of 2004 and 2005. The estimated wait for a decision was more than 16 months in October 2005. But a month later, it dropped to nine months, and 33,240 applications vanished from the count of pending cases.
Christopher Bentley, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, said a physical inventory conducted for the first time in three years had revealed that the agency had overcounted its backlog by more than 33,000 cases. “The really good news is the vast majority of those cases were cases that had already been completed,” he said.
Where do I start with this article
1- An agency that can't complete a person's petition after three years.
2- A director who doesn't see why he or the agency he supervises should be blamed for the delays.
3- In spite of these foulups and others like here and here, the same director wants the fee that people pay increased.
4- That this agency wrongly counted a backlog.
I guess because this is our governement at work, we're just supposed to accept this incomepetence.
Then I ask again, if we deport all the illegals as some wish, how many people legally here will be deported by this agency? Would you want to trust CIS if you or anyone you love is a legal immigrant to this country or trying to become one and is trying to play by the rules?
Maybe someone should ask TFM what its like. My wife, my mother-inlaw and Sister-in-law have all legally immigrated to this country and become citizens. Then there's the case of my brother-in-law, who was deported for staying one day past his visa and now can't return to the US for ten years. Leoncio helps support brothers, nephews and nieces back in the Philippines by his work as a musician. But to Immigration and CIS, he's a threat. If you don't believe my little story, I got something better for you.
Go ask the family of Jeffrey Heard what its like to deal with CIS.
Linked to- Right Wing Nation, Adam's Blog, The Random Yak