Charles F. Printz <cfphrai@...>
Hi Fellow Researchers,
In a previous digest, Barbara Meyers <firstname.lastname@example.org> asked -
If someone began the naturalization process and died before the actual
naturalization or oath took effect, does anyone know what would happen to the
preliminary paperwork ie:Declaration of Intent and Petition for Naturalization?
My relative arrived in the US in 1902 and died in 1923. I am wondering if he
might have begun the process at some point in time and if so, where I might
find the paperwork, that is, if this kind of unfinished business would have
been archived, and if so, where?
Replying to an earlier immigration question, I made mention of the fact that the
Immigration Bureau (as it was known in the early part of the 20th century) did not
have any uniform procedures for the collection, retention, or general processing
of applications and petitions until around 1926. Given that fact, the likelihood
that BCI (formerly INS) archives contain any helpful information on "incomplete"
or "partially completed" cases filed between 1902 and 1923 seems remote. It is
more likely that the local court having jurisdiction over the petitioner's place
of residence in the cited time period might have the Declaration of Intent
information in their old records.
Today, one would expect to find copies of the vast majority of applications a/o
petitions put on record with BCI, even if no action was later taken to complete
the petition or application, or the action had been abandoned. Under appropriate
procedures (i.e. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)), a properly recognized
requester is able to secure the person's file and likely find copies or
references to filings made by the petitioner or applicant. In Barbara's case,
however, I would start with the state court/s in the appropriate jurisdiction.
One note of warning, in some cases, it can even take those of us who practice
immigration law one year or more to receive >from BCI a FOIA response on a client.
All the best,
New York, NY/USA