[guest post by Dana]
There is a report out today explaining how the U.S. mistakenly granted more than 800 illegal immigrants from unnamed countries of concern citizenship. Apparently, there was an inability to determine the authenticity of the names and birth dates on applications because the applicants’ fingerprints were missing from government databases:
The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration. In the case of 858 immigrants from “special interest countries or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud,” the discrepancies weren’t caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases.
The report does not identify any of the immigrants by name, but Inspector General John Roth’s auditors said they were all from “special interest countries” — those that present a national security concern for the United States — or neighboring countries with high rates of immigration fraud. The report did not identify those countries.
DHS said the findings reflect what has long been a problem for immigration officials — old paper-based records containing fingerprint information that can’t be searched electronically. DHS says immigration officials are in the process of uploading these files and that officials will review “every file” identified as a case of possible fraud.
Roth’s report said fingerprints are missing from federal databases for as many as 315,000 immigrants with final deportation orders or who are fugitive criminals. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not reviewed about 148,000 of those immigrants’ files to add fingerprints to the digital record.
The gap was created because older, paper records were never added to fingerprint databases created by both the now-defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service and the FBI in the 1990s. ICE, the DHS agency responsible for finding and deporting immigrants living in the country illegally, didn’t consistently add digital fingerprint records of immigrants whom agents encountered until 2010.
According to the report, the government has known about the information gap for at least 8 years.
As reminder, the dangers of an unvetted illegal immigrant being naturalized can be huge:
“[T]hese individuals retain many of the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship, including serving in law enforcement, obtaining a security clearance, and sponsoring other aliens’ entry into the United States.”
According to the report, at least three “immigrants-turned-citizens” acquired aviation and transportation worker credentials, which then allowed them access to areas at airports and maritime facilities requiring a security clearance. Oh, and another “citizen” became a law enforcement officer.
With that, at this week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting, President Obama is expected to announce that the US will increase by 30% the number of immigrant refugees it accepts:
The Obama administration plans to raise the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 110,000 in the 2017 fiscal year starting Oct. 1, from 85,000 this fiscal year, according to an annual refugee report to Congress obtained by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
The 110,000 target for 2017 for individuals fleeing persecution and conflict around the world represents a nearly 30% increase over this fiscal year and an almost 60% increase over the 70,000 admitted in 2015.
After a closed session last week where John Kerry outlined the plan, Sen. Jeff Sessions confirmed what we already know:
“[The] common-sense concerns of the American people are simply ignored as the administration expands its reckless and extreme policies.”
And of course, the risk of admitting refugees from certain parts of the world is increased by the inability to thoroughly vet them.
Coincidentally, the report was released on the same day that bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized American citizen who was born in Afghanistan, was captured.
I am absolutely in favor of and have long been an advocate for tough vetting…
We need a better visa system. Let’s remember what happened on 9/11. These were not refugees who got into airplanes and attacked our city and our country.
She provided no details of what this tougher vetting would look like.