U.S. Law Center

Citizenship accidently given to over 800 due to fingerprint error

It can be nerve-wracking for immigrants residing in California to have to wait to see if their application for U.S. citizenship has been granted or not. If they do go on to be approved for citizenship, there are both many benefits and responsibilities that go along with becoming an American citizen.

Due to a recently uncovered error on the part of the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 858 immigrants were mistakenly approved for citizenship. The actual number may be higher than that. This is problematic since people who are U.S. citizens may qualify for jobs that involve security clearances, such as positions in law enforcement and transportation. It should be noted, however, that not all of the people approved for citizenship would have been denied had their applications been complete.

At issue is the fact that the applicants' government records did not contain their fingerprints. This means that discrepancies in their applications were not flagged for review by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A list of the new citizens' home countries was not made public. But, they hail from either countries geographically close to the U.S., which tend to have higher rates of immigration fraud, or from countries that raise security concerns. DHS is working to resolve the issue by adding these people's fingerprints to their database and reviewing each case.

Applying for U.S. citizenship is a goal for many immigrants who come to this country. However, the process can be lengthy and people may run into roadblocks. Therefore, people who wish to become U.S. citizens may wish to contact an experienced attorney.

Source: ABC News, "More Than 800 Immigrants Mistakenly Granted Citizenship," Alicia A. Caldwell, Sept. 19, 2016

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