It cannot be argued that September 11, 2001, did not radically change how we have thought about national safety and many people in Reading can count the ways how our nation has changed since that day. The government must walk a very careful line, however, ensuring that it does not overly discriminate against specific groups of people while keeping us safe from future attacks. It seems that was the thought behind the previously undisclosed Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program. Unfortunately, it appears the program may have failed to remain free of prejudice.
Two of the individuals who appear to have been hurt by the program are a pair of Palestinian immigrants who moved to the country over 11 years ago. They should have been able to become naturalized citizens after five years, but they had to wait almost four years to find out that they had been rejected. Why? Because they had previously donated money to an organization that the U.S. later determined to be a terrorist organization.
The couple is appealing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision.
The husband and wife did not move to Reading, but their story could easily be similar to many of the Muslim immigrants to Pennsylvania. Muslim immigrants are reportedly much more negatively affected by this program than other groups, a program which denies or delays an individual's application for citizenship if he or she is determined to be a safety concern. The problem is that many Muslims are being identified as concerns, far more than likely are.
The American Civil Liberties Union published a report on the program, making the public aware.
Source: CBS DC, "ACLU: Some Muslims Blacklisted When Applying for U.S. Citizenship," Aug. 21, 2013