In the latest of many gaffes at the mammoth agency created after 9/11 to keep the nation safe, at least 858 illegal immigrants with deportation orders were mistakenly granted U.S. citizenship. It gets better; the foreigners are from “special interest countries” of concern to national security, according to a federal audit that blasts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Even for DHS, which is charged with preventing terrorist attacks but is well known for a multitude of security lapses, this seems like a bit much. The illegal immigrants fooled our nation’s Homeland Security agency by using different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship. It was that simple, which makes it even more frightening. “This happened because neither the digital fingerprint repository at DHS nor the repository at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contains all old fingerprint records of individuals previously deported,” according to an announcement released by the DHS Inspector General along with the scathing report. That means this could be the tip of the iceberg because there’s about 148,000 old fingerprint records of illegal aliens from special interest countries who had deportation orders or who are criminals or fugitives that are not available. This is because they have yet to be digitized so their fingerprints are missing from government databases.
That means a government adjudication officer doesn’t have access to all pertinent information when determining if certain foreigners with criminal histories qualify for citizenship. It’s as if the three stooges are in charge of national security. Worse yet, federal authorities have known about this security gap for years, the agency watchdog reveals, but little has been done to correct the problem. Back in 2008 Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which operates under DHS, identified 206 immigrants who used a different name or other biographical information to gain citizenship. This didn’t seem to rattle the government enough to take action or at least pretend to investigate the illegal aliens, strip them of citizenship or prosecute them. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act a federal court may revoke naturalization through a civil or criminal proceeding if the citizenship was obtained through fraud or misrepresentation. “However, few of these individuals have been investigated and subsequently denaturalized,” according to the DHS IG.
The consequences of this negligence could be dramatic. At least three of the immigrants who fraudulently gained citizenship obtained credentials to work in secure areas of commercial airports or seaports, the DHS watchdog writes in its report. A fourth person is actually a law enforcement officer, though the report fails to identify where. “This situation created opportunities for individuals to gain the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship through fraud,” DHS Inspector General John Roth said. “To prevent fraud and ensure thorough review of naturalization applications, USCIS needs access to these fingerprint records.” DHS has “plans” to digitize and upload all available fingerprint records and review the eligibility of naturalized citizens whose fingerprint records reveal a deportation order under a different identity, the watchdog says, though no timeline is offered.
Judicial Watch has reported on DHS’s transgressions over the years, including its failure to deport a number of illegal immigrants with criminal records who ended up committing heinous crimes. Among them is a drunken illegal alien from Bolivia who killed a nun in Virginia despite having a substantial criminal history. Last summer a Haitian illegal immigrant who had spent 17 years in prison for attempted murder, savagely stabbed a young woman in Norwich, Connecticut because DHS didn’t follow through with removing him from the country. Just this month an illegal immigrant member of the notoriously violent MS-13 street gang murdered a teenager in Gaithersburg, Maryland even though he had been deported twice in the last two years. Clearly, DHS didn’t follow through with the order. Last year Judicial Watch sued the DHS IG for records regarding a terrorist “hands off” list used by the Obama administration to allow individuals to enter the U.S. who had previously been barred because of suspected terrorist ties.
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