The FBI's background check backlog for legal immigrant applicants stands at a reported 100,000 files, which have been waiting for action for a year or longer. At least they didn't shred them all (uh, as far as we know) -- which is what federal contractors did at the immigration center in Laguna Niguel, Calif., over the last several years. To rid itself of a 90,000-document backlog, supervisors ordered workers to destroy passports, birth certificates, approval notices, change of address forms, diplomas and money orders. Then they reported that they had reduced the backlog to zero. Poof!
Michael Cutler, a veteran of the immigration bureaucracy who worked as a senior special agent at the former INS, says working at the agency is like the comedy scene out of "I Love Lucy" where Ethel and Lucy -- overwhelmed at a candy factory by an out-of-control conveyor belt -- try eating the candy bars and stuffing them down their dresses to stay on top of the flood:
"The situation is reminiscent of what happens to beleaguered adjudicators at the USCIS every day, and it is not the least bit funny. The adjudicators cannot eat the applications, nor can they stuff them down their clothes. In order to get good evaluations, they need to move these applications as quickly as possible. The easiest way to do this is to approve them. Needless to say, this means that fraud-laden applications are often not detected and aliens receive a wide variety of benefits, including United States citizenship to which they would not be entitled if the relevant facts were known. As more aliens get away with committing fraud, the 'word' spreads through the communities and more aliens are emboldened to commit fraud, further eroding any integrity that might have still remained in the process. To make things worse, when an application is denied, the alien is virtually assured that no special agent will be looking for him to seek his removal from the United States."
We are incapable of imposing order and handling the current crush of legal immigrant applicants in a fair and timely way. You want "comprehensive immigration reform"? Start with border control, reliable adjudications, consistent interior enforcement, and efficient and effective deportation policies. And don't pretend that piling on is going to fix a darned thing.
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