WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud who had pending deportation orders, according to an internal Homeland Security audit released Monday.
The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and such discrepancies weren’t caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases.
Lovely, just love.
But, wait! There’s more,
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.
More top notch action by the Department of (Occasional) Justice,
Roth’s report said federal prosecutors have accepted two criminal cases that led to the immigrants being stripped of their citizenship. But prosecutors declined another 26 cases. ICE is investigating 32 other cases after closing 90 investigations.
ICE officials told auditors that the agency hadn’t pursued many of these cases in the past because federal prosecutors “generally did not accept immigration benefits fraud cases.” ICE said the Justice Department has now agreed to focus on cases involving people who have acquired security clearances, jobs of public trust or other security credentials.
Now for the big finish,
Mistakenly awarding citizenship to someone ordered deported can have serious consequences because U.S. citizens can typically apply for and receive security clearances or take security-sensitive jobs.
At least three of the immigrants-turned-citizens were able to acquire aviation or transportation worker credentials, granting them access to secure areas in airports or maritime facilities and vessels. Their credentials were revoked after they were identified as having been granted citizenship improperly, Roth said in his report.
A fourth person is now a law enforcement officer.
Is there any situation that the government can’t make worse?