Amnesty applications for hundreds of immigrants seeking legalization have been delayed because a required fingerprint form was not available in many immigration offices, officials said.
"We're using the forms up left and right," Ernest Gustafson, Los Angeles district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, said Friday.
Because of the shortage, he said, local INS officials decided to accept applications with other types of fingerprint forms. That led to complaints from lawyers and social service groups assisting undocumented residents applying for amnesty, and eventual legal residency, under the new immigration law.
Larry Liebenbaum, chairman of the State Bar immigration section, said he's offended by the INS's attitude and failure to issue a statement about its policy change.
The INS "is supposed to be helping the public," said Linda Wong, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "That kind of attitude discourages people from coming forward."