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Legal Immigrant Sues USCIS for Mishandled Citizenship Application

Anis Rabhi, a legal permanent resident of the United States since 1999, has filed a lawsuit against two senior immigration officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for issues concerning his citizenship application.

USCIS is a component office of the Department of Homeland Security—an agency with a central role in President Trump’s immigration crackdown.

Violation of Civil Rights and Federal Law

Rabhi’s complaint, filed on April 10 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, claims an alleged violation of civil rights and violation of federal law. He further accuses Lori Scialabba, Acting Director of USCIS, and Kathleen Bausman, Field Office Director for USCIS Philadelphia, of wrongly refusing to adjudicate his citizenship application in time despite making several repeated reminders and inquiries.

In 2005, Rabhi reportedly applied for naturalization but was only interviewed in 2011. Moreover, he holds the two immigration officials responsible for the denial of his naturalization application, and as such, seeks appropriate damages.

Rabhi, represented by his lawyer James Orlow, is also asking to be reconsidered for naturalization. He has also since requested for the award of court costs and any relief that the court may grant.

One of Many Similar Cases Around the Country

Cases concerning the questionable handling of citizenship applications are more common than people would like to think.

In Texas, a state with a high concentration of immigrant families, immigration rights advocates are reporting an alleged uptick in birth certificate refusals targeted towards immigrants.

According to Jennifer Harbury, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, an organization offering legal aid to working class immigrants, the surge in birth certificate refusals first began in late 2014. A group of four immigrant women became the most notable victims of this discrimination, having been refused the issuance of birth certificates for their children born in the United States.

The 14th Amendment follows the principle of jus soli, which provides that children born on American soil are immediately considered U.S. citizens, regardless of their parents’ citizenship.

Despite this fact, the plaintiffs’ kin and several others of like birth circumstances, found requests for the issuance of their birth certificates not just turned away, but outright denied.

Local officials explained that this was on the heels of a change in policy –Texas vital statistics offices would no longer accept photo IDs issued by the Mexican Consulate nor foreign passports without current U.S. visas in registering birth certificates.

This effectively barred immigrant women from acquiring rightful citizenship for their U.S.-born children, and de facto denied rightful Americans their own citizenship.

If you, or a loved one, are facing problems concerning your citizenship application, learn about your rights by talking to the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Contact our offices to schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.

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