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Civil Rights Commission Report Finds Government is Blocking Permanent Residents from Accessing Benefits and Voting

WASHINGTON – The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and NPNA member organization, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) applaud the conclusions of a report  released by the Colorado State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights , calling for immediate Congressional action on the backlog and processing delays of citizenship applications currently before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

“The report adds to the voices, ranging from NPNA leaders to Congressional members, condemning the intentional citizenship application backlogs and the destructive impact that it has on voting rights, civil rights, and the ability of USCIS to effectively serve the public,” said Nicole Melaku, Executive Director for the CIRC. “Instead of closing the doors on citizenship, we second the call for Congressional action and oversight over USCIS and for the agency to complete citizenship applications within six months.”

The report, released Thursday, includes testimony from NPNA and CIRC given in February 2019 as part of its investigation into the civil rights implications of the backlog lays out several recommendations. The report recommends:

  • USCIS should process citizenship applications within six months, the agency’s goal as set by law;

  • Congress should conduct hearings to hold the agency accountable and ensure its statutory mission

  • Congress should allocate funding to address the backlog; and that states, cities, and non-profit organizations should work to promote naturalization.

The report and its recommendations come almost two years after NPNA  first raised alarm over the Trump administration’s backlog and other “second wall” barriers that make it more difficult for the nearly nine million immigrants who are eligible for citizenship to apply.

NPNA has previously pointed out that the backlog and processing delays are preventing eligible immigrants from naturalizing, and in turn, registering to vote in time for the Presidential election of 2020.

During Citizenship Day and the entire month of September, NPNA and NPNA members are calling for Congress to take action to end the attacks on citizenship, expand access to citizenship, and move legislation forward that would further include immigrant and refugee communities, ranging from issues like workforce development programs to access to attorneys and community navigators to increasing how many refugees are allowed into the country.


FERNANDA DURAND (443) 396-3317