USCIS is advising applicants who filed naturalization applications after July 2007, that they can expect waits of 16 to 18 months to process their cases. This potentially affects nearly one and a half million people.

This is, in effect, a stealth form of voter suppression and it is one that could have an impact on elections around the country. This is particularly suspicious this year as recent polls are showing Hispanic voters overwhelmingly shifting their votes to the Democrats and Hispanics making up a large enough part of the electorate to affect races in "purple" states like Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida that the GOP must hold to have any chance at winning the presidential race next year.

USCIS is blaming the surge in naturalization filings ahead of the July 31st massive 50% fee increase (it now costs more than $600 to file). The fee increases were coupled with a by USCIS chief Emilio Gonzalez to REDUCE processing times.

The New York Times is also reporting on the story.