Immigration Agency Says Backlog Virtually Gone

FBI name checks on people seeking to work, live or become citizens of the United States are getting completed more quickly, winding down a backlog that had left some petitions pending for more than a year, immigration officials announced Monday.
The delays have come during the FBI's routine checks for possible criminal backgrounds and national security questions. But now, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say, nearly all name check requests submitted to the FBI are now being answered within 30 days. The remaining 2 percent within 90 days.
"The FBI has made great strides ... and shown its capable of sustaining that service level," Michael Aytes, acting deputy director of Citizenship and Immigration Services told The Associated Press.
Petitions that require more evaluation or interaction with other agencies do not fall under the FBI name check backlog count, Citizenship and Immigration Services officials said. Currently, some 6,000 cases were pending with Citizenship and Immigration Services, including some in which the application was filed several years ago, Aytes said.
"They are being looked at, they don't just sit on a shelf," said Gregory Smith, the agency's assistant director for national security and records verification directorate.
The volume of pending FBI name checks hit its peak in November 2007 when there were about 350,000 pending cases. At the time, more than half had been waiting for more than three months and a large number had been pending for more than a year, Aytes said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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