A group of 13 plaintiffs, Muslim men and women (including several older women between the ages of 49 and 61), has sued USCIS to challenge extensive delays in their naturalization applications, due to being included in USCIS’s policy regarding national security concerns. All the plaintiffs are permanent residents who meet the law’s requirements for naturalization to U.S. citizenship, but whose applications have been delayed because of USCIS’s CARRP policy. These applications have fallen into a black box, in which there are unending delays, no explanation from the government, and no opportunity to present evidence to prove that any national security concern is baseless.

USCIS’s CARRP (Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program) policy, which is supposed to deal with national security concerns, results in the indefinite delay of naturalization applications, as well as other applications for immigration benefits. Under the CARRP program, officers are instructed to look for any possible reason to deny an application. Where there is no legal basis to deny an application, USCIS may leave the application pending interminably.

Many individuals affected by the CARRP program are no danger at all to U.S. national security. They may be included because of travel to certain countries or areas, or because of their associations, for example, that they have had a relative (no matter how distant), co-worker, roommate, employee, employer, partner, affiliate or friend, who is of some interest to the government. Additionally, anyone whose name is found in an FBI file, even though not at all a target or suspect, are also included under the CARRP umbrella. Thus, anyone who has given a voluntary interview to the FBI, or gone to a mosque that happened to be under surveillance, may find themselves subjected to the CARRP policy and have their applications delayed indefinitely or denied on any pretext. The criteria are so broad and general, that anyone can get caught up in the program.

In other cases, individuals have their applications interminably delayed so that the FBI can use them as informants, and use the pending application as a figurative club in order to extract information.

On May 19, 2016, the complaint, Eriola Arapi et al vs. USCIS et al, Case No. 4:16-CV-00692, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by the Missouri Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Hacking law practice. ©