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Arizona: citizenship process operating too slowly to allow voting this fall

AP reports: Although immigration officials in Phoenix are churning out record numbers of new U.S. citizens, critics say federal officials aren t working fast enough so many immigrants won t become citizens in time to vote in November.

The Phoenix office for Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to grant citizenship to 2,000 legal immigrants this month, more than twice the usual 800 for May.

Charles Harrell, acting district director of the CIS office in Phoenix, said the immigration service is responding to a surge of applications that poured in last year.

Citizenship applications spike every four years preceding a presidential election, but the record surge last year was triggered by various immigration-related factors, including a 70 percent fee increase that prompted thousands of immigrants to apply before the increase took effect Aug. 1. -- Feds coping with backlog for U.S. citizenship before election

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