Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Settlement Reached in Class Action Suit Challenging Delays in Granting Citizenship

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA), announced that they have reached a preliminary settlement agreement with the federal government in a landmark class action lawsuit challenging delays in the granting of citizenship. In granting class certification, Federal District Court Judge Pechman, rejected the government's arguments asserting that the inability to vote does not prevent individuals from fully participating in our democracy: "This suggestion that Plaintiffs should be resigned to participate vicariously in civic society is shocking, offensive, and wrong. It echoes the sentiments of those who challenged woman's suffrage, suggesting that women should be content to participate in the political process vicariously through their husbands' votes." Such strong language, “shocking, offensive and wrong,” in rejecting the government argument is unusual for a Federal District Court Judge and indicates how far out-of-bounds the Department of Justice and the Bush Administration have gone in defending their immigration policies.

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