Today, USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement blasting the amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by AFGE Local 1924 leadership.
“Union leadership continues to play games while the border crisis intensifies. Lives are being lost, detention facilities are unsustainably overcrowded, and illegal aliens with frivolous claims continue to overwhelm our system. The fact of the matter remains that our officers signed up to protect the truly vulnerable, our asylum system, and most importantly, our country. A cheap political stunt helps no one and certainly does not help to contain this crisis.
“Our Southern border is facing a daily crisis of aliens overwhelming our ports of entry, many of whom are attempting to enter and remain in the country in violation of our laws. Thus far, in Fiscal Year 2019, DHS has already apprehended more than 600,000 people at the Southern border.
“We have now reached the critical breaking point, and USCIS must continue to do our part to help stem this crisis and better secure the homeland.”
USCIS is announcing the expansion of its digital Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Immigration Records System (FIRST). FIRST is the only system in the U.S. government that allows users to submit and track FOIA requests and receive documents digitally. This process will save time, improve efficiency, and reduce potential errors that can occur with manually handling paper.
Starting today, FOIA requestors with a USCIS online account can submit requests online for their own records. Soon, they will be able to submit online requests for non-A-File material (policies, communications, etc.) Later this year, USCIS online account holders can make requests on behalf of another person.
“As USCIS continues to move the nation’s legal immigration system away from paper-based services to an electronic future, I am excited to implement the first fully digital FOIA system, and the benefits it will bring for FOIA requestors who take advantage of this service,” said Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS. “FIRST brings the antiquated FOIA process into the 21st century and makes it a more efficient and easy process.”
In May 2018, USCIS announced the initial rollout of FIRST, which allowed requestors to create a USCIS online account to receive requested documents digitally. This enabled requestors to login to their account, track requests, and download documents. Since the initial rollout of FIRST’s capabilities, users have created more than 77,000 USCIS online accounts to manage and receive FOIA responses.
The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. During the last decade, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 7.4 million naturalized citizens into the fabric of our nation. In fiscal year 2018, over 757,000 people were naturalized.
Deciding to become a U.S. citizen can be a very important milestone in an immigrant’s life. Individuals must demonstrate a commitment to the unifying principles that bind us as Americans and, in return, will enjoy many of the rights and privileges that are fundamental to U.S. citizenship.
About the Naturalization Process
Individuals age 18 or older seeking to become a citizen of the United States may apply for naturalization by filing an Application for Naturalization, Form N-400. The N-400 application is one of the forms available for online filing. To be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must fulfill certain eligibility requirements set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
These general eligibility requirements specify that the applicant must:
Special naturalization provisions exempt certain applicants from one or more of the general requirements for naturalization. Spouses of U.S. citizens and members of the military constitute the main categories of individuals who are exempt from some of the general requirements for naturalization.
All persons filing an Application for Naturalization who have submitted a complete application along with all required documents will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer. Those applicants found qualified are scheduled for an oath ceremony before a judge or an officer delegated the authority by the Director of USCIS to administer the Oath of Allegiance. Applicants do not become U.S. citizens until they have taken the Oath.
The INA also provides for the automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship or naturalization of children who are under the age of 18.
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