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US immigration rule changes announced ahead of threatened litigation

[JURIST] A US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) [official website] spokesman said Tuesday that the agency would introduce new rules to speed up the immigration process and prevent serious delays, apparently sidestepping a threat of mass lawsuits from Arab rights advocates. Although the spokesperson conceded that delays did occur in the naturalization process, he contended that only 1 percent of petitions for naturalization wait more than 120 days for a ruling. The spokesperson also noted that the US government naturalized approximately 450,000 people every year.

Rights advocates argue that delays within the US immigration system are widespread, and appear to be targeted at Arabs and other Middle Eastern persons attempting to immigrate to the US. In response to the problem, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee [advocacy website] was preparing to file suit in federal court on behalf of dozens of individuals awaiting naturalization. AP has more.

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