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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: NAJI CHAMMOUT - HERO

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My friend Dan Kowalski linked today to an article in the Detroit Free Press about Naji Chammout, a Lebanese native who has been waiting on his citizenship application to be approved for ten years years. That might surprise people when they learn that Chammout volunteered for the US Army in 2004 when he was a green card holder and served as a translator to top American military commanders in Iraq. He sold his Louisiana gas station for the chance to serve his adopted country and went to some of the most dangerous places in the war zone. US Army Brigadier General Keith Walker wrote a letter on Chammout's behalf calling him one of the top linguists on his team.

In the mean time, his application for citizenship sat and sat. At first, the application was lost by USCIS. Two years later, in 2002, he finally got interviewed by USCIS. In 2004, USCIS told Senator Mary Landrieu that Chammout's case was being held up by an FBI background check, something that was then causing the delay of hundreds of thousands of cases.  

In 2008, Chammout's lawyers sued USCIS and the agency responded with a demand that Chammout supply 15 years worth of tax, financial and employment records. This request is shocking and really should have resulted in discipline against someone at the agency since this was clearly a bad faith retaliatory request. Very shameful.

Chammout's lawyers decided to refile the case that year in the hopes that this would speed up processing, but USCIS is still sitting on the case. He had a new interview on November 24th, but there is no indication a decision is forthcoming. Let's hope that the media attention this case is now getting will force USCIS to answer for its conduct.

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Comments

  1. Jim Hacking's Avatar
    They should sue USCIS again when the 120 days are up.
  2. green card visa's Avatar
    Wow, this is truly a shame. This man is a model citizen, yet he can't even become a citizen. It is amazing that the system can be so blind to the merits and accomplishments of such good people.
  3. green card visa's Avatar
    I wholeheartedly agree that they should sue again once the window of opportunity opens back up.
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