MORE THAN 100,000 US GOVERNMENT IMMIGRATION FILES MISSING
The GAO discovered that of the naturalization applications adjudicated in 2005, about 30,000 --or about 4 percent of them -- may have been adjudicated without access to the aliens' files.
An investigation by the Government Accountability Office revealed that the US government processed about 30,000 citizenship applications even though the office of the US Citizenship Immigration Services acknowledged they were missing 110,000 A-Files or alien files.
The GAO reported that the agency may not have looked at some of the A-files, which are used to help determine eligibility for immigration benefits, when processing the applications in 2005.
A-files contain immigrants' applications and other documents and results of any background checks that are used to determine an alien's eligibility.
Republican senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine released details of the investigation on Tuesday. The senators claimed they sought the investigation after a suspected terrorist was granted US citizenship in 2002.
"It only takes one missing file of somebody with links to a terrorist organization to become an American citizen," Grassley said in a news release.
However, the GAO added that the number of applications processed without examining A-files may not have been so high because workers do not always record whether they've looked at the files.
Grassley and Collins said Citizenship Immigration Services agreed to require workers to record whether they looked at A-files while working on naturalization applications.
Missing A-files can have an impact on the process of adjudicating naturalization applications in several ways, according to the GAO report.
For example, when an A-file is not available at the location indicated in the automated file-tracking system, additional time is spent trying to locate the file, which slows the adjudication process and applicants may wait longer for USCIS to process their application.
In addition, missing A-files can hinder USCIS's ability to uncover immigration benefit fraud and limit DHS' ability to take enforcement actions. USCIS claims it has steps in place to help mitigate the risk of adjudicating a naturalization application without an A-file. These steps include verifying the applicant's lawful admission to the United States and conducting extra supervisory reviews to ensure that naturalization processing procedures have been followed.
deemed critical, especially in making citizenship decisions, A-files
are sometimes missing during adjudication's. In 2002, naturalization
was granted to an alien whose A-file was missing and who was later
found to be associated with a terrorist organization, although the
GAO report does not provide the identity of the suspect.
© 2006 Jim Kouri- All
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Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.
He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores.
In 2002, naturalization was granted to an alien whose A-file was missing and who was later found to be associated with a terrorist organization...