LOS ANGELES — A government program to screen immigrants for national security concerns has blacklisted some Muslims and put their US citizenship applications on hold for years, civil liberties advocates said Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said in a report that the previously undisclosed program instructs immigration officers to find ways to deny applications that have been deemed a national security concern. For example, they flag discrepancies in a petition or assert they did not receive sufficient information from the immigrant.
The criteria used by US Citizenship and Immigration Services to blacklist immigrants are overly broad and include traveling through regions where there is terrorist activity, the report said. The criteria disproportionately target Muslim immigrants, who often wait years to get a response on their citizenship applications, advocates said.