Immigration Services Union: 'Officers are Pressured to Rubber Stamp Applications' of Illegal Aliens

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | May 19, 2013 | 1:10 PM EDT

The union representing 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudications officers and staff said today its members "are being pressured to rubber stamp applications" of illegal aliens and discouraged from conducting "proper investigations into red flags."

What's more, Obama administration policies have, in some cases, resulted in approval of more than 99 percent of illegal alien applications for legal status, National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council Pres. Kenneth Palinkas said.

"USCIS officers are pressured to approve visa applications for many individuals ICE agents have determined should be placed into deportation proceedings," Palinkas said in a USCIS statement joining forces with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council in opposition to the immigration bill S. 744.

"USCIS adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation," he added.

Palinkas says officers and staff are currently being prevented from doing their jobs because USCIS has been turned into an "approval machine":

"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.'"

Illegal aliens are being protected from deportation because officers aren't allowed to do their jobs, he said:

"USCIS officers who identify illegal aliens that, in accordance with law should be placed into immigration removal proceedings before a federal judge are prevented from exercising their authority and responsibility to issue Notices To Appear (NTAs)."

Palinkas blames the problem on USCIS management, which he says is dedicated to serving illegal aliens instead of protecting a vulnerable American public:

"The attitude of USCIS management is not that the Agency serves the American public or the laws of the United States, or public safety and national security, but instead that the agency serves illegal aliens and the attorneys which represent them."

Some Obama administration policies have resulted in approval of 99.5% of illegal alien applications for legal status, Palinkas notes:

"Currently, USCIS reports a 99.5% approval rating for all illegal alien applications for legal status filed under the Obama Administration's new deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) policies. DHS and USCIS leadership have intentionally established an application process for DACA applicants that bypasses traditional in-person investigatory interviews with trained USCIS adjudications officers."

Public safety is endangered, as a result, he warns:

"These practices were put in place to stop proper screening and enforcement, and guarantee that applications will be rubber-stamped for approval, a practice that virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk."

The administration's policies aren't just dangerous to Americans, they're also costly, Palinkas says, noting that its propensity to waive fees, such as those illegal aliens are supposed to pay, cost taxpayers $200 million last year:

"While illegal aliens applying for legal status under DACA polices are required to pay fees, DHS and USCIS are now exercising their discretion to waive those fees. Undoubtedly these practices will be replicated for millions of illegal aliens if S.744 becomes law.

"U.S taxpayers are currently tasked with absorbing the cost of over $200 million worth of fee waivers bestowed on applicants for naturalization during the last fiscal year."

Even more costly to taxpayers is a disastrous new $2 billion computer screening system that allows the alien facing adjudication to enter his own information into the system:

A new USCIS computer system to screen applications known as "Transformation" has proven to be a disaster as the agency has spent upwards of $2 billion for a system that would eventually allow an alien-now referred to as a "customer" under current USCIS policy-to upload their own information via the internet for adjudication purposes. To date, only one form can be accepted into the program that has been in the making for close to 10 years.

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