Saturday, April 12, 2008

Citizenship Can Be A trap For Immigrants

Citizenship and Immigration Services generally rejects about 80,000 applications for citizenship each year -- a little more now because of a record number of applications. Most are rejected because they are premature -- before the requisite 5 or 3 years after gaining permanent residency -- or because of a lack of the requisite English proficiency or failing the civics test. These can always re-apply. But some applicants are rejected and find themselves liable to deportation because of a technicality or some mistake in entering the country. These applicants probably would never have known they were out of status or never have been challenged, save for their desire to be citizens and their fateful encounter with CIS. The NY Times article documents one case of a Filipino doctor in Pennsylvania.

The Los Angeles Police has had for 30 years "Order 40" which prohibits officers from inquiring about immigration status. Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten reports that, in view of a murder of a star black athlete by a Latino gang banger, some in the city council want to modify Order 40 in the case of gang members' crimes. Rutten fears that this will raise the resentment of black voters and become an issue in the 2009 mayoral election.

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