Last month, President Bush signed off on a few dog-and-pony illegal immigrant employment raids. Whoop-de-doo. Politically expedient holiday gestures over, the White House is now back to work pushing its long-planned, massive alien amnesty. The state of the borders, green card process and entrance system for visitors and tourists? Porous. Chaotic. Understaffed. And overwhelmed.
But no matter. Mouthing his same old, bogus platitudes about the need to allow "undocumented workers" to do the job Americans won't do (never mind all those Americans who immediately lined up to apply for those meatpacking jobs after the December raids), Bush wants to pile millions of new "guest worker" illegal alien applicants onto the teetering homeland security bureaucracy.
The results will be disastrous. What President Bush didn't mention in the State of the Union address is that every part of the current legal immigrant applicant machinery that would be tasked with implementing the "guest worker" illegal alien amnesty is backlogged and broken.
Last November, congressional investigators reported that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had lost track of 111,000 files in 14 of the agency's busiest district offices and processed as many as 30,000 citizenship applications last year without the required files. Poof! I have heard first-hand from adjudicators in Texas and southern California who have piles of files in backrooms that have yet to be read. The application backlog remains in the millions. Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, called for a Government Accountability Office review that uncovered at least one case in which an applicant with ties to the terrorist group Hezbollah was granted citizenship without a check of his primary file.
"It only takes one missing file of somebody with links to a terrorist organization to become an American citizen," Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, noted in The Washington Post. "We can't afford to be handing out citizenship with blinders on."
Or legal status. Multiply that by several million in the case of Bush's guest worker program. Can you spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r?
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.