Scandal-Plagued DHS Agency to Oversee Amnesty

Why virtually no scrutiny will be given to illegal immigrant applicants if "reform" bill is passed.

166911987.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeAn obscure agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that has been involved in two recent scandals in which it rubber stamped applications will be in charge of processing millions of new applications if the new immigration bill, known as S. 744, passes.

The agency, the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), was recently cited for approving 99.5% of all applications it handled under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA is the administrative amnesty for so-called DREAMers. President Obama used a Rose Garden speech in June 2012 to push through DACA using an executive order.

In a Washington Times report on the unusually high number of approvals, the fear of fraud was raised.

“The high rate leaves others wondering whether the administration is doing all it can to weed out fraud or potentially dangerous illegal immigrants in DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as it’s formally known.”

In January 2012, the Daily ran an investigative series based on an unpublished Inspector General’s report that concluded that USCIS managers had pressured lower level staffers to rubber stamp Visa applications. The report found that a great number of staffers at USCIS were pressured, with fear of losing their jobs, to rubber stamp applications. The report concluded:

63 of the 254 Immigration Services Officers (24.8%) responded that they have been pressured to approve questionable applications.

Another 35 ISOs (13.9%) had serious concern that employees who focus on fraud and ineligibility were evaluated unfairly.

According to the Daily investigation, at least one whistleblower, Christina Poulos, was demoted after coming forward to reveal the scheme.

USCIS has been run since early 2009 by Alejandro Mayorkas. In the late 1990’s, when working as a US Attorney, Mayorkas became embroiled in the controversial pardon of Carlos Vignali, a politically connected alleged drug dealer who had his fifteen year prison sentence commuted to six years, an action that Mayorkas recommended.

According to Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, the overwhelming majority of the millions of immigration applications that will be generated if S. 744 passes will be handled by USCIS. The US State Department will also handle a minority of applications. Applications to be handled by USCIS include Visa applications, Green card applications, as well as applications for provisional status. As such, all of the estimated 10-30 million illegal aliens now in the country will have their applications processed by USCIS.

Furthermore, said Vaughan, under the proposed bill, all illegal aliens currently in the US will receive provisional status immediately even as their applications are processed by USCIS.

FrontPage Magazine reached out to USCIS, DHS, as well as the office of Senator Marco Rubio for comment on this story but all emails were left unreturned. Rubio, in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, claimed that S. 744 would have the “toughest immigration enforcement laws in US history.”

Despite assurances by supporters of this bill that enforcement will be stringent, close examination has found a different story. FrontPage Magazine reported last month that individuals with as many as two misdemeanors would still be eligible to qualify for provisional status and ultimately citizenship. More recently, an amendment to mandate a biometric system for all entry and exit points was voted down.

This most recent revelation is even more concerning. That’s because regardless of how the bill is written it will be executed by numerous agencies within the DHS and the State Department. Given that USCIS has a history of simply rubber stamping millions of applications, it stands to reason that millions more will also be rubber stamped, and that will not lead to any sort of tough enforcement.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.