By: Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner
Who ever said that government employees don’t care about quality control, has never met any of the good people who work for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)–an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), led by Secretary of DHS Janet Napolitano–responsible for processing all United States VISA applications.
It seems that the number and frequency of complaints coming from Immigration Service Officers (ISO), regarding pressure senior management was putting on them to approve immigrant VISA applications increased dramatically since the Obama Administration appointed Alejandro Mayorkas as Director of USIS in August 2009, according to Sarah Ryley’s article today in The Daily.
The high ranking officials, who spoke to Ryley, said that Mayorkas’ appointment occurred as part of the effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and brought with him the mantra of “get to yes.”
“We recognize their right to interpret things as liberally as possible, but you still have to follow the law,” said one high-ranking official who was unhappy with the current push.
As a result of the significantly number of complaints, culminating in a “whistle-blower” report against a [specific] “senior appointee”, the Office of Inspector General opened an agency-wide investigation into the matter. An as yet unreleased 40-page report in September 2011, a draft copy of which was obtained exclusively by The Daily, details the immense pressure ISO’s are under to approve visa applications quickly, sometimes while overlooking concerns about fraud, eligibility or security.
Source: Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, “The Effects of USCIS Adjudication Procedures and Policies on Fraud Detection by Immigration Service Officers,” September 2011.
The inspector general interviewed 147 managers and staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, and received 256 responses to an online survey. Here are some of the findings in the report.
“63 of 254 Immigration Services Officers (24.8%) responded that they have been pressured to approve questionable applications.”
One-quarter of the 254 officers surveyed said they have been pressured to approve questionable cases, sometimes “against their will.”
“Several USCIS employees informed us that officers have been required to approve specific cases against their will.”
“Another 35 ISOs (13.9%) had serious concerns that employees who focus on fraud or ineligibility were evaluated unfairly.”
“Cases are sometimes taken away from us and given to officers who the supervisor knows will approve the case … Another survey respondent was threatened with a formal reprimand if a case was not approved as the supervisor required.”
At least five agency veterans seen as being too tough on applicants were either demoted, or given the choice between a demotion or a relocation from Southern California — where their families were — to San Francisco and Nebraska, according to sources and letters of reassignment provided to The Daily.
“People are afraid,” said one longtime manager, who requested anonymity for fear of being fired. “Integrity only carries people so far because they’ve got to pay the rent.”
A rank-and-file officer who was not involved in the investigation claimed he was demoted to working on less technical cases because he had a high denial rate. “They don’t reprimand you, they just move you,” he said.
“They attempted to basically get me to come into line and approve a bunch of cases. And I just wouldn’t compromise myself because the approvals they ordered, they weren’t in line with the laws,” said the officer.
Since his inauguration, President Barack Obama has made it abundantly clear that if his plans conflict with the law, he will ignore the law, to serve his purposes, and this appears to be no exception.
And, thank God for the brave souls–no doubt Republicans–who spoke out against what the Obama Administration was trying to get by the American people.
It is certain that as we draw closer to election day on November 6, 2012, things are going to get even worse at the hands of Barack H. Obama.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein