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Immigrants sue U.S. over delays in security checks

February 09, 2007|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Immigrants who waited years for their citizenship applications to be processed because of lengthy security checks claimed in a lawsuit Thursday that the delays violated their constitutional rights.

The suit, filed in San Francisco federal court against the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, seeks to enforce laws saying the government should make a decision on a citizenship application within 120 days of the applicant's interview.

The immigrants cleared traditional criminal background checks and other requirements, only to wait years for clearance through the FBI's additional name-check process, the plaintiffs' attorneys said.

Christopher Bentley, spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, defended the rigorous background checks as vital to national security.

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