More on those inaccessible archives slowing down naturalization cases
FEBRUARY 11, 2022
MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION URGES NATIONAL ARCHIVES TO ADDRESS GROWING BACKLOG OF IMMIGRATION PAPERWORK DELAYING NATURALIZATION
Washington (February 11, 2021) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representatives Richard Neal (MA-01), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), and William Keating (MA-09) today wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) concerning the growing backlog of pending Alien-file (A-file) requests at Federal Record Centers (FRCs) managed by NARA. This backlog of requests for hard-copy A-files — which contain all the immigration records relating to any non-naturalized individual— is significantly delaying the adjudication of pending naturalization cases. The Massachusetts delegation urged NARA to take all necessary steps to safely speed up the processing of these A-file requests so that naturalization proceedings are not unnecessarily delayed.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stores almost 52 million paper A-files at three FRCs in Kansas City, Missouri. USCIS needs A-files to begin the process of adjudicating applications for naturalization, known as “N-400” cases. Prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Kansas City-area FRCs provided USCIS with an average of 62,000 A-files per month, resulting in a zero backlog of A-file requests. But since the beginning of the pandemic, the Kansas City-area FRCs have been only partially open at reduced capacity; at some points, they have been completely shut down. As a result, these FRCs are now processing approximately only 11,000 A-files per month. As of January 2022, there was a backlog of almost 350,000 A-file requests.
“Our constituents have already been waiting many years for the opportunity to be eligible to naturalize,” wrote the Massachusetts lawmakers. “It is truly unfortunate — and unacceptable — that many are now forced to wait significantly longer simply based on where their A-file is located.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Posted: to Citizenship News on Mon, Feb 14, 2022
Updated: Mon, Feb 14, 2022