WASHINGTON – The head of the Homeland Security agency that ushers in new citizens is leaving the job.
Emilio Gonzalez is the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services. He told some staffers Wednesday of his departure and was announcing it to all employees Thursday morning.
Gonzalez's resignation will be effective April 18. He is leaving just a few months after his agency drastically increased the fees it charges immigrants to apply for citizenship and other immigration benefits.
That increase triggered record-setting applications last year that deluged the agency. Many immigrants won't become citizens in time to vote in November's elections.
Gonzalez said he has been working in Washington and living in Miami since 1999.
Gonzalez said his departure is unrelated to criticism of the fee increase and the delays in processing citizenship fees in an election year. Some groups and lawmakers have said the agency should have been better prepared for the jump in applications that preceded the hike in fees.