A second union representing immigration enforcement officers is sounding the alarm in a letter released to the media about the new immigration bill, S.744, being debated in the Senate. The concerns of the union largely mirror the same concerns raised by FrontPage Magazine in an exclusive report last week.
The union, the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, represents about 12,000 employees in US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The president, in a letter dated May 20, 2013, raised concerns that USCIS has a culture in which managers pressure their subordinates to rubber stamp applications and this problem will only be exacerbated by the bill”
USCIS adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation. The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications. USCIS has been turned into an “approval machine.
USCIS has created an almost insurmountable bureaucracy which often prevents USCIS adjudications officers from contacting and coordinating with ICE agents and officers in cases that should have their involvement. USCIS officers are pressured to approve visa applications for many individual ICE agents have determined should be placed into deportation proceedings.
There is plenty of reason for the union to be concerned that tens of millions of new applications, to be created by S.744, will be rubber stamped by USCIS. That’s because as FrontPage Magazine reported last week USCIS has been involved in two scandals during the Obama administration in which applications were almost universally approved without scrutiny. Under the new bill, USCIS will be tasked with approving tens of millions of new applications, including the provisional status of all illegal aliens currently in the country.
Earlier this year, it was widely reported in the media that USCIS approved 99.5% of all applications generated under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, President Obama’s administrative DREAM Act announced in June 2012.
In 2012, the Daily ran an investigative series based on an unpublished Inspector General report which documented a culture in which managers pressured their staff to rubber stamp visa applications.
In an email, Alex Conant, press secretary for Marco Rubio, said the letter contained concerns that have been addressed:
We addressed some of their concerns in the committee mark-up that just wrapped up last night, and will address other concerns during the Senate floor debate next month. We welcome their suggestions for how to improve border security.
Senator Jeff Sessions, in a conference call with reporters, was skeptical of this assertion. “The bill does not do what it says,” Sessions said. He continued:
The standards for biometrics for the entry/exit system have been weakened substantially. Even e-verify has been put off and a completely new system has been ordered.
“Even though we are a nation of immigrants, and have an immigration system that needs fixing, this bill does not do that,” Sessions concluded.
This union is the second major union representing immigration enforcement professionals to publicly speak out against the bill. The National ICE Council, which wrote a similar letter in February, raised concerns that officers were being ordered to release dangerous illegal aliens because Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy has narrowed the definition of dangerous individuals.
Last month, FrontPage Magazine exclusively reported that individuals with as many as two misdemeanors would still be eligible to qualify for legal status under the new bill. Chris Crane, the head of the National ICE Council, testified last week in front of the House Judiciary Committee expressing his concerns, and those concerns included allowing those with multiple misdemeanors the ability to attain legal status.
Not only is the Gang of Eight bill legalization first, but it actually weakens and undermines interior enforcement. Successful reform must move in the opposite direction: providing ICE with the authority, resources and enforcement tools it needs to protect the country—and putting a stop to the administration’s abuse of power that blocks ICE officers from enforcing our nation’s laws.
It appears that opposition to the bill is gaining momentum. Robert Menendez, one of the bill’s backers, told Univision on Friday that the bill does not have the sixty votes necessary to pass yet.
Despite assurances by the so-called Gang of 8, most concerns of those who believe that this bill will not lead to the enforcement of the border have not been answered. Even though tens of millions of individuals that entered the country illegally will be made legal, most of the elements that caused this crisis will continue.
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