Illegal immigrants applying to receive temporary legal status under President Barack Obama’s election-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are being approved more than 99% of the time at the final judgment stage. An agency tasked with making the determinations has complained they are being compelled to “bypass” screening methods and “rubber-stamp” the applications–even those that should be flagged as troublesome.
Obama circumvented Congress and signed the executive action last year. More disturbingly, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees complained this week of fraud and security concerns that may have allowed illegal immigrants that should not receive deferred action status–like those with criminal records–to remain in the country.
According to Fox News, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Union President Kenneth Palinkas “said agency leaders have ‘intentionally’ set up a process that ‘bypasses’ traditional screening methods – like in-person interviews with the applicants.” He said the agency basically is put in a position where it has to rubber stamp applications.
“These practices … guarantee that applications will be rubber-stamped for approval, a practice that virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk,” Palinkas said in a statement.
These complaints came to light as the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday cleared the amnesty legislation to go to the Senate floor. Opponents of the bill have expressed concerns that there would be no way for the Department of Homeland Security to screen and check every illegal immigrant applying for amnesty. The Senate bill, if passed, would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who may not be deserving or not qualify because the bureaucracy is incapable of screening the millions of illegal immigrants who would apply.
Palinkas’s concerns validate those raised by opponents of the Senate’s “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation.
According to the UCCIS, 99.2 percent of applications for final judgment have been approved since April, and nearly 292,000 illegal immigrants have been given temporary legal status. In addition, the agency has only processed 60% of the applications received since April.
The Department of Homeland Security, though, claimed every application is reviewed thoroughly on a case-by-case basis. DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said in a statement, “USCIS has consistently reinforced a culture of quality and integrity to ensure that every case is decided based on the law and the facts of each particular case.”
The USCIS union, though, “alleged Monday that the culture of the agency had changed to encourage approval of applications and discourage ‘proper investigation into red flags.'”
The union opposes the Senate immigration bill, and Palinkas said that agency is “just skimming files” and has just been turned into a “granting machine.”
As Fox News notes, the Deferred Action program is “open to individuals under the age of 31 as of June 2012 who came to the U.S. before they were 16,” but those with felony convictions, significant misdemeanors, three or more misdemeanors, or who pose a “threat to national security or public safety” are supposed to be barred from receiving temporary status.