News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Marchers decry slow process for citizenship

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times
Article Launched: 02/29/2008 12:00:00 AM MST

Members of ACORN from El Paso and Las Cruces on Thursday marched to the offices of Citizenship and Immigration Services to protest nationwide processing delays that could keep some immigrants from getting their citizenship in time to vote in the presidential elections.

Belem Lara of Las Cruces, a permanent legal resident for 30 years, said she was beginning to gather her documents to apply for U.S. citizenship.

"It is my dearest wish to be able to vote, and more than anything, to be able to stay in this country," she said. "I fear that I won't be able to vote while I wait for a response."

Delays have not been an overwhelming problem at the El Paso CIS office, and Thursday's protest attracted only about 20 people. ACORN members were to march in protest in other cities such as Los Angeles.

The CIS has acknowledged the delay and said on its Web site that applications filed after June 1, 2007, could take 16 to 18 months to process. This could mean that someone who filed in June 2007 becomes a citizen in December 2008, too late for the November election.

The naturalization process used to take three to four months from application to interview, immigration lawyers said.

El Paso protester Israel Perez said he felt the delays were deliberate.

"I think they're thinking Mexicans can sway the election," Perez, a U.S. citizen, said.

Federal officials blamed the holdup on an onslaught of applications this year. Many were made by people wanting to beat a steep increase in filing fees that took effect July 30, 2007.

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