The NY Times took the Citizenship and Immigrations Services to task on the occasion of director Emilio Gonzalez's imminent departure. An already creaky bureaucracy was made even more inefficient as it raised the fees for applying for citizenship by as much as two-thirds last August. Demand for citizenship was already pumped up by the immigration reform debate and the 2008 elections. Demonstrators shout in the streets, "Today we walk, tomorrow we vote." But the fee hike brought in a deluge of applications in the early summer.
Gonzalez had promised with the new revenues to speed up the application process to five month It now drags along for 14 to 16 months. Much of the fault is due to faulty planning on CIS's part, but the real culprit is the way Congress expects to pay for the naturalization process -- through fees from applicants. There are better ways to do, as was the case in the past. As a consequence of CSI's mismanagement, many people who got in line and played by the rules -- as the nativist clak demanded -- may miss their opportunity to cast their first vote in November.