ACLU calls out USCIS for racial/religious discrimination

Blog post: Unequal Access to Citizenship for Muslims

Here are some highlights from a recent blog post from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California:

For many immigrants in this country, the chance to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and become sworn in as a U.S. citizen is a moment they dream about and work years to achieve. But for... Muslim immigrants around the country, the dream is tarnished by racial and religious discrimination in the naturalization process.

Naturalization applications, like Tarek’s, by law must be processed in six months but his stretched out for nine years. He endured endless scrutiny and frustrating delays because too many Muslim applicants are presumed suspects.

 In the Los Angeles Field Office, Muslim applicants appearing for their naturalization examinations are often asked detailed questions about their religion, including how often they pray and what mosque they attend–none of which is relevant to their eligibility for citizenship. They are singled out for lawful donations to Muslim charities and forced to respond to extensive ”’requests for evidence’ reaching so far back that it is impossible to fully comply. Many are brow-beaten into becoming FBI informants in order to have their applications finally processed. And again and again, Muslim applicants are denied naturalization for bogus reasons.

Congress abolished racism from the naturalization process nearly 60 years ago, making the dream of citizenship possible, at long last, for all people... In 1952, Congress proclaimed in the Immigration and Nationality Act that ”’[t]he right of a person to become a naturalized citizen of the United States shall not be denied or abridged because of race.’

While outright prohibited, racial and religious discrimination again infects the naturalization process, disparaging the very meaning of the Constitution to which many new Americans seek to pledge their allegiance. The ACLU of Southern California, together with the National Immigration Law Center and the Council on American Islamic Relations, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to uncover the USCIS naturalization policies predicated on racial, religious and national origin profiling. 

See the entire post here:  and a related video here: