Here's more of a reality check. The Department of Homeland Security is in an abysmal position to screen millions of Gold Card applicants (not to mention the untold numbers of con artists who have entered the country illegally since Jan. 4, 2004, and would try to game the system). Specter's proposal gives the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau at DHS 18 months to conduct background checks for an estimated 10 million applicants -- on top of the 7 million it already can't handle. According to a draft government report obtained by The Washington Times this week, fraud is so rampant at the bureau that it can't tell how much there is and will not have a fraud-management system in place until 2011. The USCIS director of the agency's Office of Security and Investigations resigned last month because of lack of support for investigative and enforcement priorities.
Bill West, who served nearly three decades in federal immigration enforcement and retired as chief of the National Security Section for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2003, warns at The Counterterrorism Blog: "Immigration benefit fraud is hugely widespread, and the resources to attack it are few and spread very thinly. The proposed new immigration policies floating between the administration and Congress . . . if passed will only overtax our already overwhelmed immigration agencies beyond the breaking point."
Meanwhile, the rest of us chumps should figure out how to break some laws and get ahold of the handy Get Out of Jail Free/Gold Card. I heard it's going to come with frequent flyer miles, too.