Immigrant Paperwork Backs Up At DHS Delays May Deny Vote to Hundreds Of Thousands
By Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, November 22, 2007; A01
The Department of Homeland Security failed to prepare for a massive influx of applications for U.S. citizenship and other immigration benefits this summer, prompting complaints from Hispanic leaders and voter-mobilization groups that several hundred thousand people likely will not be granted citizenship in time to cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election.
Bush administration officials said yesterday that they had anticipated applicants would rush to file their paperwork to beat a widely publicized fee increase that took effect July 30, but did not expect the scale of the response. The backlog comes just months after U.S. officials failed to prepare for tougher border security requirements that triggered months-long delays for millions of Americans seeking passports.
Before the fee hike, citizenship cases typically took about seven months to complete. Now, immigration officials can take five months or more just to acknowledge receipt of applications from parts of the country and will take 16 to 18 months on average to process applications filed after June 1, according to officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of DHS. Such a timeline would push many prospective citizens well past voter-registration deadlines for the 2008 primaries and the general elections.
You don't mean it! Several hundred thousand reliably Democratic voters out there may not be able to vote in 2008?
"Other factors include legal immigrants' anxiety at an increasingly harsh tenor of the political debate over illegal immigration, and heightened interest in the 2008 presidential election, officials said."
No. Really? Immigrants uneasy over their treatment? You mean they're nervous about walls and police knocking on their doors in the night, not being allowed to rent places to live and baited to work-places, then shunned for being Hispanic?
Helluva job, Michael Chertoff, in this country we used to call America and now call our homeland.