03.13.08

SA 4270, an amendment to create a reserve fund to provide for the timely adjudication of naturalization applications and FBI name checks

The well publicized naturalization backlog that the Administration has allowed to build up over the last year threatens not just to deprive hundreds of thousands of people the right to participate in the upcoming Federal elections, but it has undermined the legitimate expectations of those who have followed the law that their government will function as it is intended. 

The related issue of a backlog at the FBI in completing security name checks in connection with naturalization applications not only contributes to these delays, but undermines the very purpose of the security check itself.  If a security name check is pending for as long as 3 years, the result is that either someone who should not be in the United States is languishing unaccounted for, or that someone who should be approved is caught in a bureaucratic gridlock.  Neither result is acceptable. 

Our amendment gives Congress the flexibility to legislate a solution in relation to the backlogs at both the FBI and USCIS if the Administration is unable to resolve this situation.  Whether it be more resources or additional authority these agencies need, it is becoming apparent that Congress may need to intervene.  The Administration’s efforts thus far to address this issue are too little too late.  Many in Congress have been rightly concerned about this situation in light of the serious security concerns it presents, and we should not tolerate the vulnerabilities we are left with.  What was a foreseeable situation was not foreseen.  It is disappointing that for all of the Administration’s rhetoric in support of fair and realistic immigration reform, it has allowed this to happen.  Those individuals who have come lawfully to the United States and proved their commitment through hard work, perseverance, and responsibility deserve better.  I urge all Senators to join us in support of this amendment. 

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David Carle: 202-224-3693