PHILADELPHIA – Many immigrants who have satisfied the requirements to become U.S. citizens have been illegally left in limbo for years, charged a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Philadelphia. As a result of system-wide delays in FBI “name checks,” hundreds or thousands of citizenship applications have been held up well past the 180-day deadline established by Congress.

The class action lawsuit, Ignatyev v. Chertoff, was filed on behalf of Ukrainian immigrants Mikhail Ignatyev and Nataliya Petrovna Demidchik, and other immigrants facing processing delays. It seeks a halt to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) practice of delaying citizenship applications for months or even years because of the FBI’s failure to complete a name check of the applicants.

Press Releases


John Grogan and Ned Diver of Langer Grogan & Diver, P.C., Ayodele Gansallo and Judith Bernstein-Baker of HIAS & Council Migration Services of Philadelphia, Cecillia Wang of the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, Mary Catherine Roper and Witold J. Walczak of

Date filed

April 7, 2008


U.S. District Court, Eastern District