U.S. Immigration Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agents have expressed strong concerns over House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and other Representatives pushing for immigration legislation that would legalize the status of America’s at least 11 million illegal immigrants.
In a public statement that will be released Thursday morning but has been provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release, USCIS Council president Kenneth Palinkas warned that Goodlatte (pictured), House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R-VA), House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) seem to be following the same pathway that Senate “Gang of Eight” members did, regarding how they are working on immigration legislation.
“At every step, this administration places obstacles and roadblocks in front of our adjudication officers in their attempts to protect our nation’s security and the American taxpayer,” Palinkas said. “I documented these abuses on more than one occasion with the authors of Schumer-Rubio-Corker-Hoeven [S. 744] only to have them ignored.
“I worry the House may be following a similar path. Media reports reveal that Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman Paul Ryan, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are working to advance proposals to open citizenship benefits to the majority of those here illegally, in combination with proposals to expand visa programs.”
Palinkas warned, too, that any group of “step-by-step” House immigration bills may be used as a tool by congressional leaders to get to a conference committee, at which point they would be combined with the Senate bill and sent to the president for his signature, and illegal immigrants would start getting amnesty. That is exactly what House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Gang of Eight members Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and some Republicans have said they want to do.
“These plans are being pursued before first reforming the very agency – USCIS – that will be charged with reviewing these tens of millions of green card, temporary visa and citizenship applications,” Palinkas said. “Advancing such measures without first confronting the widespread abuses at USCIS would be to invite disaster.”
In his statement, Palinkas cited a recent MSNBC report where Gutierrez said he, Goodlatte, and others have worked on a “compromise” position. That MSNBC report also noted that Goodlatte and other Republicans are working with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), another Democrat, on a plan to get to conference with the Senate bill. Palinkas stated that USCIS agents have been, like they were from the Senate conversations, excluded from all discussions among House leaders. “Why aren’t USCIS officers being consulted on this ‘compromise’ offer?” Palinkas asked.
He further expressed concern over Cantor’s GOP DREAM Act, tentatively called the KIDS act. “I am also worried about the arguments being used to support the KIDS Act, one piece of the wider citizenship plan being drafted,” Palinkas said. “Legislators, including Mr. Cantor and Mr. Goodlatte, have suggested that it is improper to apply immigration law to younger illegal aliens. But if it is improper to apply immigration law to one specific group of illegal aliens, then why should we expect future illegal aliens in this group to be treated any differently?”
He warned that the KIDS Act may lead down a slippery slope. “This seems like an argument for extending birthright citizenship in the future to include the foreign citizens of other countries,” Palinkas asserted. “Should we just expect that the next Secretary at DHS will use the arguments we are hearing in the House to enact the next Deferred Action program in anticipation of the next legislated amnesty?”
Palinkas alleged that, under the Obama administration, USCIS has been riddled with nefarious activities. “At USCIS, our institutional mission has been corrupted by politics, and I hope these abuses will be examined and fixed before any amnesty proposal is brought forward in the House,” he said.
He finished off his statement by listing several immigration issues he hoped House Republicans would address but have thus far not been willing to: “USCIS adjudications officers lack the mission support to safely screen and review applicants for immigration benefits. This includes the inability to conduct in-person interviews, the failure of our software system, the lack of training and office space, and pressure to rubber-stamp applications. We have become an approval machine,” “Failure to protect taxpayers from abuses of the welfare system by those granted immigration benefits,” “Administrative orders that require us to grant immigration benefits to those who, under law, are not properly eligible,” “Approval quotas placed on adjudicators that emphasizes clearing applications more than vetting them,” “A management culture that sees illegal aliens and foreign nationals, not US citizens and taxpayers, as the customer. We believe in treating all with respect and always will, but our agency’s focus must be keeping the country safe and secure on behalf of the American people.”
Goodlatte, Ryan, and Cantor are not the only Republicans still pushing to pass an immigration bill in the House of Representatives. According to the Miami Herald, Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) said about immigration: “We have to address it. It’s a moral issue.”
In addition, according to Politico, House GOP conference chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said she thinks immigration should be a top priority for House Republicans this year.
This coming weekend on Univision, McMorris Rodgers will say that House Speaker John Boehner “over the last few weeks has continued to talk about the importance of the House moving forward on immigration reform. I believe that we have a window here between now and the end of the year and that this is a priority.”
McMorris Rodgers is the fourth highest-ranking member in the House GOP conference.