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More than 800 immigrants mistakenly granted citizenship

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A view of the Homeland Security Department headquarters in Washington, as seen in June 2015. The U.S. government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants who had pending deportation orders from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud, according to an internal Homeland Security audit released today.

WASHINGTON » 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 today.

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.

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.

In an emailed statement, the Department of Homeland Security 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.

The government has known about the information gap and its impact on naturalization decisions since at least 2008 when a Customs and Border Protection official identified 206 immigrants who used a different name or other biographical information to gain citizenship or other immigration benefits, though few cases have been investigated.

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.

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.

Roth recommended that all of the outstanding cases be reviewed and fingerprints in those cases be added to the government’s database and that immigration enforcement officials create a system to evaluate each of the cases of immigrants who were improperly granted citizenship. DHS officials agreed with the recommendations and said the agency is working to implement the changes.

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      • Nowadays immigration sucks, besides, the country is full enough, or does anybody other than business people want more congestion?
        And Islamisation is the worst, especially because they breed much offspring which attacks us later – see the bad example of France. Trump is right: Muslim immigrants are bad for the country.

      • Wow, I never expected that comment from you. Many of these incompetent federal workers you are talking about are unionized government workers and you know who they are voting for this coming election?–your liberal friend Hillary.

        • Actually alot of federal workers are ex military and they vote against Hillary. Trump appeal to low informed vothers

      • Shocked you are against bigger government! We’re you the one screaming for pay raises for the HPD? Aren’t you a huge hiLIARy supporter?
        Aren’t you Ukulu’s best friend in support of the DEMOCRAT envisioned $14-billion dollar choo-choo boondoggle that will bankrupt the county of Honolulu?

        Well, I hope you had a moment of lucidity and finally came to your senses. Now go out and do the right thing and if you still plan to vote Democrat I sure hope you lite a fire under their ASSES to get them to stop doing these things that are destroying our country.

      • IRT NanakuliBoss, Yes, can’t figure out Hawaii born racist President Obama allowing his Homeland Security Chief to approve over 900 immigrants citizenship a week before the debate and when Ms Hillary is slipping in the polls, especially in the battleground States. Seem’s President Obama is working very hard to have Ms Hillary lose the General election to Mr. Trump to make America Great Again.

    • Yes, a colossal mess-up. But it is not Obama’s fault any more than it is Trump’s fault. Any fraudulent applications must lead to instant deportations.

      Look, as an indigenous Mandan, a descendant of a civilization here for thousands of years, I have welcomed many of you to my lands. i WELCOME ALL OF YOU AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE LEGITIMATE IMMIGRANTS OR REFUGEES.

  • Who is or are going to be fired? None! Bureaucratic boo boos with no reprimands or slap on the wrists, just another normal work day with employees hurrying to get work done just before quitting time after surfing the internet all day and getting paid. Ho hum, what’s new? Why make a fuss, oh Trump minds?

    • Information also related that in 2003-2007, an average of 600 immigrants slip thru. Wait that was GWB. Also Republican led Congress cut funding for extra vital personnel in Homeland Security. That and Cruz government shutdown created inept disgrunted federal employees.

  • INSANE! I a US citizen that’s handicapped have always been picked on while flying. I’m always the chosen one to go thru the body scanner. Tell me that’s not discrimination because of my handicap? And the US Gov. have loop holes for illegal migrants!

    • Metal implants are not handicap. These need to resolve by the screeners. A physical pat down would suffice pocho. It’s the the orifice search that’s invasive. Yikes.

      • I have no implants, I almost always the one to be chosen to go thru the body scanners and it’s all due to my gait. These illegal migrants don’t go thru any metal or body scanners at all. And go figure I’m a US citizen. Geez

      • Still I’m the one more likely to go thru the xray scanning machine, that’s an xtra step you regular people don’t usually go thru, where I do most often. That xtra screening process is most definitely selective bias!

  • So, Bush II did absolutely nothing during his 8-year reign to address this. Whereas, in 2010, they finally began to do something.

    Not to mention, that Obama has no love for illegal immigrants himself, sending more illegals back to their native countries than Bush I, Bush II, and Bill Clinton did in their combined terms.

    • Your argument is misleading. During the terms of those 3 Presidents you cited, illegal immigration wasn’t the issue that it is today. Potential terrorist infiltration was not the concern that it is today. The sheer number of immigrants invited to this country without adequate background checks was not an issue that it is today. If Obama has deported more illegals, then big deal – there are more illegals now to deport. Do you see him drawing attention to the problem of illegals murdering/killing US citizens? Obama does indeed have a love for illegal immigrants as our borders are not strictly enforced. He has invited thousands of Middle-East immigrants into this country knowing that they could not be adequately screened. The first and foremost duty of the President is to protect the interests and safety of we, the citizens. Obama has failed abysmally in this regard.

    • The deplorable yahoos on this thread lack critical thinking skills and intellectual integrity. If anyone in the Obama administration makes a mistake be is a failed president and typical Democrat. Forget his greater transparency about problems and efforts to fix them.

      These folks live in an echo-chamber that denies facts and overlooks or make excuses for the greater and more destructive mistakes of previous administrations. If only we could deport them, perhaps we could truly make America Great Again.

  • And President Hillary wants to allow another 500% more refugee immigrants over and above what Obama was going to let in. How many of those are going to be ISIS plants?

  • Obumma and Clinton want to bring in more by the thousands to BLOW UP OR COUNTRY. Better vote for Trump or you’ll be seeing bombs killing more and more Americans.

  • There needs to be full accountability in all government jobs. Make a mistake like this and people need to be fired and some should be facing criminal charges. Government workers make mistakes all the time and it needs to stop.

    • Something tells me they won’t find any of them until each of them registers their address and votes Democrat. They’ll let them vote first before trying to do a claw-back on their citizenship but I also have a feeling if any of them try to register as Republicans, the Republicans will be picked up before getting a chance to vote.

  • Obama’s anti American beliefs has contributed to this kind of massive failure of our system regarding immigration. Clint will be the same way.
    People should be afraid of Clinton and not trump. Clinton’s policies will weaken our country economically and morally. What is the government going to do about their big mistake ?
    First of all the citizen status should be pulled from all those granted by mistake. The Obama administration has know about this for many years and has hidden it from the people.

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