FBI Name Checks Stall Immigration
Program still understaffed 6 years after 9/11; would-be citizens frustrated
By Evelyn Renold,  Newser User
Posted Jun 27, 2007 4:13 AM CDT
Said Mohamed lives in an apartment in Hollywood, Florida, with sons Adel Elsayed, front, and Emad Elsayed. His wife and oldest child Kamal Elsayed can't get into the United States.   (KRT Photos)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Bureaucratic bottlenecks are causing such long delays for prospective citizens, reports the Houston Chronicle, that hundreds of frustrated immigrants are now suing the federal government to try to speed up their background checks. Immigration Service figures show that about 16% of cases—over 51,000 people—have been pending between one and two years.

The FBI name checks program, made more rigorous after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, "may be the single biggest obstacle to timely and efficient...immigration," according to an Immigration Services ombudsman in a recent report to Congress. An FBI spokesman said the delay was the result of a "lack of resources and the sheer volume of requests."