I've been reading recently that some on the left are decrying the backlog in naturalization applications, arguing that there should be a surge in approvals — and thus of new citizens — in time for these individuals to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. It's a curious notion, this idea that the government owes them the right to naturalization and voting in time for what promises to be a hotly contested fight between the parties for control of Congress.
But I think there are other issues at play. Liberals are making this argument smug in the knowledge that many immigrants lean left, and therefore are Democratic voters, presumably after they have been naturalized, since aliens aren't supposed to vote in federal elections, although the reality seems somewhat different, at least in various states that don't police their electoral rolls. They therefore want to demand whatever it takes to tip the elections in their favor.
Of course, they couch the demand in more oblique terms, insisting that it is a deliberate and objectionable slowing down of the citizenship process at play, and they do this without the least sense of irony.
The truth is that past Democratic administrations, such as the Clinton White House, unabashedly sped up naturalizations to try to pack elections, creating a corner-cutting environment among naturalization examiners that inevitably led to a number of ineligible aliens being admitted to citizenship. This was done under the auspices of Vice President Al Gore's "reinventing government" initiative in a project called "Citizenship USA", or "CUSA".
The cutting of corners happened again during the Obama administration, leading to several thousand ineligible aliens again inappropriately receiving citizenship. This has been well documented by government watchdog agencies. For instance, in a September 2017 report, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) found that nearly 10,000 aliens with multiple identities had received benefits including naturalization.
More recently, the government has moved to denaturalize a number of individuals who concealed criminal records, including sex crimes against minors, and managed to get through the system and obtain their citizenship.
And still more recently, Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, chairman of Iran's parliamentary nuclear committee and a member of its national security and foreign affairs committee, claimed that, in a sub-rosa quid pro quo between the Obama administration and Iran when negotiating the now-abrogated "nuclear deal", 2,500 Iranians were naturalized, including close relatives of officials of the Islamic Republic, which is a formally declared "state sponsor of terror" by the State Department. This is beyond shocking: It is a national security nightmare.
The politicization, and apparent lack of adequate internal controls in the adjudication of this country's most precious immigration benefit — the bestowing of citizenship — has become so overt that recently U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the DHS agency responsible for immigration and naturalization benefits adjudications, has begun forming an entire new cadre of officers dedicated to post-audit and denaturalization investigations in order to attempt to claw back citizenship obtained by those who should not have received it in the first place.
With all this as backdrop, I can only hope fervently that the left's demand for expedited processing of naturalization applications falls on deaf ears. Decades of politicizing the immigration system is what got us into this mess in the first place. Enough is enough.