The Dallas Morning News ran an article today detailing a problem that I and many other interested people have been complaining about for quite some time — the inexcusable delays in granting citizenship to qualified immigrant applicants. Some of us who are quick to attribute sinister motives to politicians note that a majority of new citizens vote Democratic, and the current administration is Republican. And of course this just happens to be an election year. So the fewer new citizens, the fewer votes for Democratic candidates? The article is well worth reading in full. Here are excerpts:

The unprecedented 1.4 million surge in U.S. citizenship applicants won’t translate into an equal number of new voters come November’s presidential election because of a processing backlog.

But U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials said Monday that the agency is hiring more staff and pressing the FBI for more efficient background checks and that delays of weeks just to open mail are behind them.

“Anytime we have a surge in citizenship, it is a good thing,” said Emilio Gonzalez, director of the agency’s Dallas office. “We are working as best we can.”

Mr. Gonzalez and his agency have been assailed by critics who charge that the Republican administration wants to suppress the votes of new citizens likely to vote for a Democrat.

“If they don’t have the opportunity to vote in this election, they will have many other opportunities to vote in other elections,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

The processing delays vary from city to city, though the biggest backlogs are in Los Angeles, New York and Miami, said Mr. Gonzalez and Michael Aytes, associate director for the agency’s domestic operations.

In Dallas, the backlog isn’t as serious, with 30,000 applications pending in November, Mr. Aytes said. The number of applicants here increased 49 percent in the last fiscal year compared with the previous year. In San Bernardino, Calif., the increase was 1017 percent; in Los Angeles, 101 percent.

Just the same, Mr. Aytes acknowledged, some applications with checks enclosed had taken more than six weeks just to be opened, including some sent via Federal Express.

Some 57 percent of Hispanic registered voters call themselves Democrats or say they lean toward the Democratic Party, while 23 percent align with the Republican Party, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center survey.