Bureaucracy glutted by immigration

Among the key features of the Bush/Kennedy/McCain immigration reform proposal is the creation of a guest-worker program.

Advocates claim the program will solve the problem of illegal immigration by making every immigrant legal, putting them through a complicated process of bureaucratic red tape. But it won’t work for one simple reason: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency in charge of processing legal immigrants, is an operational disaster. The White House and Congress continue to ignore urgent warnings published in The Examiner and elsewhere of whistleblower Michael Maxwell, who explained more than a year ago that a guest worker program would be a national security disaster.

The former head of security for USCIS, Maxwell documented security breaches that allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter the United States with no independent verification of their identity. An automated system in USCIS even let some foreign nationals bypass all background checks and print out their own green cards and work permits. The agency, Maxwell told Congress, was “a viper’s nest” of political hacks and career federal employees who covered up criminal allegations of bribery, document fraud, extortion, money laundering and espionage within their ranks.

Maxwell’s testimony, corroborated by congressional staff and investigators at the Government Accountability Office, described gaping security holes at USCIS, including the failure to check names against terrorist watch lists and to fingerprint applicants. All the while, USCIS personnel were being offered cash bonuses, time off, movie tickets and gift certificates to speed up processing times for their “customers.” There were no incentives to keep undesirable applicants out. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office found that 45,000 high-risk illegal immigrants from countries known to sponsor terrorism were allowed to legally enter the U.S. since 2001.

And the backlog of fugitive immigration cases increases every year. More than 600,000 known criminals refuse to obey court orders to leave the country; they commit, on average, 25 homicides a day.

If that is not enough, consider the agency’s logjam of 4 million regular immigration applications, about 329,000 of which are still waiting for FBI clearance.

Blogger Michelle Malkin reported in January that, under pressure to reduce their backlog, USCIS supervisors in California ordered workers to destroy 90,000 identity documents, including “passports, birth certificates, approval notices, change of address forms, diplomas and money orders” — like a mail carrier dumping a too-heavy load instead of delivering it.

Does this sound like an agency that can responsibly handle even one more case, let alone another 12 million to 20 million, as proposed by Bush/Kennedy/McCain?

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