Citizenship and Immigration Services

13 Stories

Reid Used Clout to Overturn Ruling on Casino Investors

Washington Times: He got visas sped up; agency staffers cry foul

(Newser) - A newspaper report suggests that Harry Reid exercised improper political clout on behalf of a casino in his home state of Nevada. The Washington Times reports that Reid personally intervened when a government agency—the US Citizenship and Immigration Services—rejected a request to speed up visa applications for foreign... More »

US Citizenship Requests Tumble

Come on, why wouldn't you want to live here?

(Newser) - It seems fewer people want to hop into the American melting pot these days, as applications for citizenship have fallen off a cliff, the Dallas Morning News reports. After receiving a record 1.4 million requests from legal residents looking to becoming naturalized in fiscal year 2007, US Citizenship and... More »

Citizenship Test Moves Beyond Trivia

Immigrants worry about potential for abuse

(Newser) - The new test to become a US citizen debuts today, and it's making plenty of immigrants and their advocacy groups anxious. Proponents say it asks more meaningful questions—instead of "What were the original 13 states?" it asks things like "What does the Constitution do?"—but some... More »

Citizenship Fees Up, Applications Down

59% decline seen after charge to would-be citizens rises from $400 to $675

(Newser) - Higher fees for immigrants seeking US citizenship could be responsible for a drop in applications, USA Today reports. The fee went from $400 to $675 last summer; applications are down almost 60% in the first 6 months of 2008, compared to the same period last year. “The expense has... More »

US May Move to Restrict H-1B Visa 'Cheaters'

Demand for skilled labor will fuel another application rush

(Newser) - The US is expecting a record number of applications for H-1B visas—given to highly skilled, specialized foreign workers—and is considering rules to penalize companies that try to improve their chances, ComputerWorld reports. Desperate firms have been known to send more than one application—123, 480 were received last... More »

FBI Bails on Immigrant Probes as Backlogs Mount

Backlog means immigrants will be granted residency before background checks

(Newser) - Immigration officials are expected to grant green cards to tens of thousands of aliens before required FBI background checks, because the Department of Homeland Security is struggling under a ballooning backlog, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Background checks would be performed after immigrants are granted residency, which could be revoked if problems... More »

Immigrants Facing Epic Citizenship Delays

Rush to beat fee hike has wait at 18 months

(Newser) - Over one million immigrants will have to wait up to 18 months before become US citizens due to a massive bureaucratic backlog nationwide. Applications surged last summer ahead of a fee increase of nearly 75%, the Boston Globe reports, helping create the paper jam. Before the increase, the average immigrant... More »

Citizenship Delays Will Impact Election

Hundreds of thousands will miss chance to vote due to backlog

(Newser) - Hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have applied for US citizenship will not have those applications processed in time to vote in the 2008 election. The Department of Homeland Security failed to fully prepare for a massive increase in applications filed to beat a widely publicized fee increase that took... More »

Citizenship Test Gets Overhaul

New questions focus less on the nitty-gritty

(Newser) - The government yesterday unveiled its new citizenship test, which puts less emphasis on memorization of facts and more on analysis. To become naturalized, it's no longer enough for applicants to know how many stars or stripes are on the flag, but they may need to ID a constitutional amendment that... More »

FBI Name Checks Stall Immigration

Program still understaffed 6 years after 9/11; would-be citizens frustrated

(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... More »

Report: White House Stacking Immigration Courts

Bush appointees chosen for GOP loyalty

(Newser) - The White House is illegally packing the nation's immigration courts with GOP partisans, circumventing civil service rules to appoint administration insiders and cronies, according to a Washington Post analysis of relevant records. A third of judges appointed to the immigration bench since 2004 have been party loyalists, and half had... More »

Immigration Fees Skyrocket

Prices to rise by two-thirds; critics see barrier for poorer immigrants

(Newser) - The price of citizenship is going up. With applications on the rise, the federal agency for citizenship and immigration is raising charges for almost all benefits, reports the Los Angeles Times. The cost of a green card will go from $325 to $930, while citizenship applications will rise from $330... More »

Problems Plague Immigration Agency

Critics call for overhaul of inefficient, backlogged operations

(Newser) - The agency that will have to deal with the avalanche of paperwork generated by immigration reform can't handle it, the Washington Post reports today. With over a million citizenship applications already stalled in the pipeline, Citizenship and Immigration (the former INS) faces the possibility that its workload will nearly triple,... More »

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