Their Eye Is on the Sparrow — USCIS Wastes More Time on Tiny Populations

By David North on November 23, 2015

Maybe it's the institutional version of an uncontrollable nervous tick, but USCIS seems hell-bent on wasting time on tiny populations.

We have seen the care that it lavishes on the abused step-parents of citizens (they get green cards) and the investors in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who are rich enough to be regarded as investors, but too poor to pay modest agency fees (they get a free ride).

Today's tiny population is aliens who have been in the United States for two years and who have filed Form N-300 declaring their intent to file for naturalization later.

When I was growing up, immigrants were spoken of as having filed their "first papers" (now the N-300) and their "second papers" (the actual application for naturalization). I have not heard those terms in 50 years.

Filing a notice saying that one will file later for naturalization seems to carry with it no impact on either the alien or the immigration system. Maybe it makes those aliens feel a little more secure, and gives them a chance to do something formal to show their commitment to Uncle Sam.

But despite the lack of utility, the "first papers" are alive and well, and USCIS is going through the motions, as recorded in the November 19 Federal Register, in an "information collection notice", which in plain English is a process by which this ancient and useless form may be re-designed.

How often is this form used? The Register announcement speaks of an expected total of 45 users a year.

USCIS statistics for FY 2014, however, show that the agency received all of 22 N-300s that year.

Wouldn't it make more sense to spend a little agency effort to simply terminate the form?