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Cleveland Ranks As Best City For Immigrants To Become Citizens

Esther Honig

A new study on immigration shows that Northeast Ohio is the best place in the country for people who want to become citizens.

The report was compiled by Seattle-based Boundless Immigration, which helps people navigate the immigration process. It ranks the immigration field offices in more than 100 cities nationwide by looking at their efficiency and the speed of the process. The Cleveland office - which handles applications for most of Northeast Ohio – came in at number one.

The report also gives high marks to the other two offices in Ohio, with Cincinnati at #8 and Columbus at #11.

Farhad Sethna, an immigration attorney and faculty member at the University of Akron law school, says that while Cleveland is a model for how immigration offices are run, the wait times around the nation have been rising over the past two years.

“I think it’s keyed, really, to the change in the political directive that’s come out of Washington, D.C., and especially the anti-immigrant sentiment that’s rising out the White House these days,” Sethna says.

Sethna says the while the Cleveland office may be physically similar to others in the nation, the difference here is the people.

“The Cleveland Field office is extremely responsive,” he says. “They have an email box for attorneys and we get a response, usually, within 24 hours. Which is really incredible. I can tell you it’s incredible because I’ve had dealings with other field offices. And you can send them letters and call and you just hit a blank wall.”

Other cities in the top 10 include San Bernardino, Calif., Louisville, Ky., Providence, R.I., Buffalo, N.Y., Kansas City, Mo., Indianapolis, In., Raleigh, N.C., and Charleston, S.C.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. A graduate of Hudson High School, he received his Bachelor's from Kent State University. While a Kent student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.