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Naturalization Backlogs Still Plague North Texas

Director Michael Aytes

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas, TX – The head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says the backlog of immigrants hoping to become citizens is 7 and a half months behind schedule. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more.

Acting Director of USCIS, Michael Aytes, says the backukp's smaller than it used to be thanks to processors working overtime. His goal: reduce the backlog to 5 months.

Aytes: By now we should be at a point where we're returning to a point of normal levels & we're not.

Aytes was in town to dedicate the new, regional CIS headquarters in Irving that opened last month. He says the days of long immigrant lines outside in the blazing summer sun will be gone, thanks to the new building. It can handle 600 people a day. But he says the staff better not get too comfortable.

Aytes: When immigration reform comes, it's going to be a singular challenge for us we know that we will play a large part in that. And every day that goes by is a day that we lose if we're not doing something to better position ourselves for that reality.

Congress has tried and failed to pass immigration reform. The Obama administration says it's committed to it.

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