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ACLU alleges discriminatory program to screen citizenship applications

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) [advocacy website] said Wednesday that they have uncovered a discriminatory national security program used by the US government to screen immigrants [ACLU materials]. In a lawsuit against the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) [official website] alleging discriminatory practices in the denial of citizenship applications, the ACLU claims to have uncovered a government program called the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP), which they claim instructs federal immigration officers to find ways to deny applications that have been deemed a national security concern. CARRP was allegedly created in 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] as a way to identify terrorists trying to become naturalized citizens. The ACLU argues that the program's reach is overly broad, discriminates against people based on religion and national origin, and has led to unwarranted delays and denials of citizenship applications. A spokesperson for the USCIS, Christopher Bentley, denied allegations that the program is discriminatory, arguing that it is "in compliance with immigration laws and with a steadfast commitment to maintaining the integrity of the immigration process."

Immigration reform [JURIST news archive] continues to be a divisive political and social issue in the US. In June the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in a Los Angeles federal court alleging that Border Patrol and immigration officers coerced hundreds or possibly thousands of Mexican nationals into signing their own deportation documents and forfeiting their right to a fair hearing before an immigration judge. In May the Connecticut Senate approved legislation [JURIST report] that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses regardless of documentation status. Also in May a judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona ruled [JURIST report] that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling during the execution of immigration patrols.

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