A Decade After Applying USCIS Grants Citizenship

CLCMA recently represented our client administratively at USCIS to fight a ten-year delay of our client’s naturalization application. Our client’s application was languishing at USCIS, even after USCIS initially interviewed him in 2011. As with many other Muslims, USCIS placed this client’s application in the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (“CARRP”) with no progress for close to a decade and no significant updates. USCIS created CARRP in 2008 to identify applicants for immigration benefits who also pose a national security risk. Instead, USCIS uses CARRP as a discriminatory tool to delay and deny immigration cases based on an applicant’s religion, national origin, or prior group affiliations. USCIS’s institutional bias is particularly high for applicants who are Muslim or from Muslim-majority countries.

CLCMA’s review of this client’s administrative file revealed that USCIS’s failure to make any decision on the application centered around its unsuccessful attempt to tie our client to a political opinion believed to present a security risk to the U.S. The Agency’s interview notes from 2011 showed our client never supported this view. Still, USCIS withheld a decision on his citizenship application for many years after that interview, contrary to law. It appeared that his citizenship case would require federal court litigation to reach an approval. Instead, a second interview was scheduled in late 2020 without explanation, and our client reached out to CLCMA for assistance.

The USCIS officer who conducted the second interview openly stated the delay was unjustified, and the case would be approved immediately. USCIS administered his oath of allegiance a few short weeks later. Thankfully, this allowed him to become a U.S. citizen just in time to register to vote in this year’s federal election. CLCMA is delighted to have resolved our client’s case in his favor, instead of USCIS deferring a positive result for months or likely years appealing a wrongful denial. Our client was relieved to reach this momentous milestone and expressed how reaching this goal will be lifechanging. Trips to visit family that were postponed, career advancement previously on hold, and a lifelong dream to guide others to pilgrimage are now real possibilities.

Our client said this about CLCMA’s legal representation of his citizenship application, “I really appreciate CLCMA’s help in my case. CLCMA understands not only the rule of law, but how Muslims are being targeted and discriminated against by the U.S. government. I contacted USCIS many times though private lawyers, U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives, and other non-profit legal organizations for years resulting in the general answer that my application was pending the results of security background checks. I knew from this generic response and the length of time I was waiting that my case had been placed in CARRP. When I received a second interview notice, I immediately sought out CLCMA’s legal assistance because they specialize in Muslims whose cases have been placed in CARRP. Attorney Kate Brady took the time to prepare me for the USCIS interview, including updates to my application from the last 10 years, and attended the interview with me as my attorney representative. My citizenship case was approved by USCIS, but I knew CLCMA could also appeal my case all the way to federal court, if needed. By standing up for the rule of law, CLCMA is doing a valuable and unique service to the country and the community. I fully support the critical work of CLCMA in fighting against discrimination by the government against the Muslim community.”

Kathryn H. Brady, CLCMA Immigration Department Head said, “USCIS should not need more than 9 years to approve a case, especially when it never alleged that it found any derogatory information. This discrimination by USCIS was solely based on our client’s nationality and religion. That is illegal. I am pleased that USCIS finally chose to follow the law by granting his application without further unfair tactics. CLCMA continues to fight prejudicial government actions against the Muslim community, administratively and in federal court, so that well-deserving Muslims may be granted the immigration benefits for which they are fully qualified.”