Published: Feb. 7, 2019
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

The Colorado State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) will hold a public briefing at the University of Colorado Law School on Feb. 22 to examine the backlog in citizenship and naturalization applications in the state. The committee will look at possible reasons behind the backlog and its civil rights consequences and will explore ways to reduce the backlog and restore the agency’s naturalization processing times to its self-imposed target of six months.

"Becoming a citizen means being able to vote and to access a range of other rights and benefits; it also opens up a sense of belonging in a community. Keeping immigrants who are eligible to naturalize—essentially, Americans in waiting—from becoming citizens is concerning. The USCCR public hearing will be an excellent opportunity for the community to learn about a pressing issue in civil rights and immigration and to interact with lawyers and leaders from all over the state of Colorado," said Ming H. Chen, associate professor of law and director of Colorado Law’s Immigration Law and Policy Program. Chen sits on the Colorado Advisory Council to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Bryce Downer, attorney, Downer Legal Group
  • John Eastman, law professor, Chapman University
  • Kristi Goldinger, district director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Diego Iñiguez-López, policy and communications associate, National Partnership for New Americans
  • Jennifer Kain-Rios, immigration attorney, KainRios Immigration, LLC
  • Nicole Melaku, executive director legal services coordinator, Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition
  • Robert Preuhs, professor of political science, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Jamie Torres, director, Denver Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
  • Travis Weiner ('18), Colorado chapter lead, Veterans for American Ideals and Veterans for New Americans

Following the speakers’ panels, the committee will hold an open public comment session at 3 p.m. (MST). Members of the public in attendance will be invited to make short statements on the topic. Those wishing to speak must sign up at the meeting room no later than 3 p.m. on the briefing day. The committee will also accept written testimony submitted to or by mail to the Rocky Mountain Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1961 Stout Street, Suite 13-201, Denver, CO 80294. Written testimony must be submitted no later than Friday, March 22, 2019.

Members of the media are invited to attend and should RSVP to Julia Roth at

Event information

Who: Open to the public

What: Briefing on the backlog of citizenship and naturalization applications in Colorado

When: Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Invited panelists: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Open comment/public testimony: 3-6: p.m. (MST)

Where: University of Colorado Law School, Wittemyer Courtroom (2450 Kittredge Loop Road, Boulder), livestreamed at

Cost: Free