One hundred and forty three people from 42 different countries packed the courtroom in the federal building and became citizens of the United States of America.
Among them were two of the plaintiffs on the Citizenship Delay class action lawsuit being litigated by CAIR-Chicago, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Competition Law Groups.
Mohammed Farah and Hassan Damra both waited nearly two and a half years after passing their citizenship examinations. The men are two of nine on a class action composed of similarly situated Muslim men experiencing citizenship delays.
The Citizenship Delay Project, sponsored by CAIR-Chicago, the Arab-American Action Network, the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Competition Law Groups, has encountered 145 Muslims experiencing similar delays in obtaining citizenship.
The class action lawsuit argues that Muslim men applying for citizenship are being discriminated against on the basis of their religion and gender.
Although all the men on the lawsuit have fulfilled the requirements to obtain their citizenship and none have criminal records, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has failed for years to issue decisions on their applications. The USCIS is supposed to decide on citizenship applications within 120 days.
In addressing the new citizens, the federal judge administering the oath ceremony stated,
- “This nation is a beacon for the entire world, illuminating a constitutional democracy in which the individual has a right to speak, to remain silent; to worship, to worship not; to build what one can with the talents and opportunity Fortune provides. I ask, then, that you cherish this nation and do all you can as a citizen to protect her. I hope you will inform yourself about government and participate by voting and by voicing your views. If your neighbor suffers injustice, do what you can to advocate for justice for him or her. Where you find discord, work for peace. As we take care of the rights and liberties of one another, we ensure the liberty of future generations.”
For Mohammed and Hassan, their plight to become U.S. citizens may have been long and arduous, but they did so in the spirit of this country by standing up to injustice.
The coalition on the Citizenship Delay Project continues to advocate and represent individuals who have experienced unnecessarily lengthy delays in obtaining citizenship.
For more information on the CAIR-Chicago’s Citizenship Delay Project, contact Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham at email@example.com
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