Report: DHS Halted Background Checks to Meet Flood of Amnesty Requests

Report: DHS Halted Background Checks to Meet Flood of Amnesty Requests

In advance of his successful reelection, President Obama took executive action to defer, for two years, deportation for illegal immigrants who entered the country as children. The result was a flood of requests to the immigration service for the temporary amnesty. As a result of this demand, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the Department of Homeland Security cut back on the legally-required criminal background checks of these immigrants. The revelation raises questions of how the agency could handle a blanket amnesty of all illegal immigrants. 

In October 2012, Judicial Watch, acting on a tip from a whistleblower, filed a FOIA request with DHS for “all communications, memoranda, emails, policy guidance, directives, initiatives, and any other correspondence respecting the scope and extent of background checks to be performed (or not) on aliens applying to the Obama administration’s DACA program.” [DACA is the acronym for Obama’s temporary amnesty directive.] 

Memos and emails obtained through the FOIA reveal that the agency suspended conducting full criminal background checks on illegals applying for the program and, instead, instituted a “lean and lite” process, which allowed the applicant to continue moving through the system. 

DHS staff were even informed that that an immigrant’s failure to produce valid identification should not be a reason to delay their application for amnesty. In an October 3 memo, agents were told “Biometric processing should not be refused solely because an applicant does not present an acceptable ID.” 

Interestingly, on November 9th, three days after President Obama won reelection, DHS staff were told to stop taking applications for the temporary amnesty. It was somehow no longer necessary to expedient the granting of temporary amnesty. 

“The Obama administration seems to be throwing public safety and national security out the door in implementing its illicit and unilateral amnesty program for illegal aliens.  The costs and security lapses of this program show that this administration can’t be trusted to implement any of the new security measures in the amnesty bill in the Senate,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement.

Supporters of the Senate amnesty bill promise that no illegal immigrants will be placed on the path to citizenship without being a full criminal background check. If the agency couldn’t handle applications from several hundred thousand immigrants, how can it handle the 11 million would will be legalized after the bill passes?


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