07/16/2012 02:23 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Edmonton immigrants wait to become Canadian citizens

The lack of a citizenship judge in Edmonton has left hundreds of immigrants in Edmonton waiting to be sworn in as Canadian citizens.

Edmonton and Northern Alberta has been without a citizenship judge since January.

"I'm stuck in this loop," said Amir Elnimir, who moved to Edmonton from Egypt eight years ago and has been waiting for two years to become a citizen. "I'm stuck there because they don't have a judge."

A few citizenship ceremonies are being held in the Edmonton region if and when judges or other officials from elsewhere travel through.

"I think obviously it is something that does require immediate attention," said Edmonton-Leduc MP James Rajotte.

"I've put a few names forward for consideration and obviously I'll work to ensure that we fill that position as soon as possible," he said.

Citizenship judges are appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

"It takes out of the feeling of belonging I have to the country here," said Elnimir. "It's like a group of people always telling you that you're more than welcome — they treat you as a Canadian.

"But you have this minority of people, these decision-makers who are trying to push you away from this group. That's exactly how I picture it," he said.