Investigation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Citizenship USA Initiative   [open pdf - 2MB]

"This investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) examined the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) 'Citizenship USA' initiative of fiscal year 1996. Beginning in 1993, the demand for naturalization began to increase at a staggering rate and application backlogs developed at INS offices throughout the country. By June 1995, INS was receiving applications for naturalization at a rate twice as high as it had the previous year. INS projected that without a serious effort to reduce this application backlog, by the summer of 1996 an eligible applicant would have to wait three years from the date of application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. On August 31, 1995, INS Commissioner Doris M. Meissner announced 'Citizenship USA' (CUSA), an initiative to reduce the backlog of pending naturalization applications to the point where an eligible applicant would be naturalized within six months of application. The goal of the initiative was to reach this level of processing 'currency' within one year. The effort focused on the workload in the five districts in the country--dubbed 'Key Cities' for CUSA--which then had the largest application backlogs: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago. To reach the CUSA goal, INS dramatically increased its naturalization workforce in the Key Cities, opened new offices dedicated to naturalization adjudication, and engaged new processing strategies in an effort to 'streamline' the naturalization process."

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