Wednesday, August 21, 2013
New Report Exposes a Covert U.S. Government Immigration Program that Unlawfully Prevents Many Muslim Applicants from Becoming Citizens and Lawful Immigrants
The ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), and the law firm of Mayer Brown today released a 70-page report exposing a covert government program called the "Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program" (CARRP), which was created in 2008 to make it all but impossible for many Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian individuals to become American citizens, or otherwise obtain legal residency or asylum status. Each year, millions of aspiring Americans apply for United States citizenship and other immigration benefits with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency tasked with making such determinations. Under the CARRP program, USCIS has secretly blacklisted law-abiding applicants, labeling them "national security concerns," and cast their applications into a vacuum where they languish for years or are simply denied without justification. The agency often mislabels applicants "national security concerns" based on nothing more than lawful religious activity, national origin, and innocuous associations. In doing so, the agency captures far too many Muslim residents who present no threat at all, let alone any threat to our national security. The CARRP program specifically directs agency officers to delay, and ultimately deny, the immigration benefits of those applicants it has chosen to blacklist, even if the applicant is legally entitled to those benefits. The agency does not let the individuals know that they have been labeled a threat to our nation, nor does it give them an opportunity to contest to the allegations. While the government treats them as too dangerous to naturalize or immigrate to this country, it simultaneously treats them as too harmless to expeditiously investigate, prosecute, or deport.