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Memo to Washington: Clear the damn backlogs first

By Michelle Malkin  •  June 17, 2007 02:33 AM


Over the last several years, I’ve noted the following immigration backlogs that continue to plague our homeland security system:

*The backlog of 600,000-plus fugitive deportee cases.

*The backlog of 4 million immigration applications of all kinds.

*The backlog of an estimated 100,000 FBI background checks for legal immigrant applicants.

*The disappearance of 111,000 citizenship applications.

The Washington Post reports today that those mounds of unprocessed paperwork continue to grow. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came here legally are waiting for FBI background checks that must be obtained before they can become naturalized:

Since 2005, the backlog of legal U.S. immigrants whose applications for naturalization and other benefits are stuck on hold awaiting FBI name checks has doubled to 329,160

That’s right. The FBI name check backlog stands at nearly 330,000 cases.

After an embarrassing citizenship screw-up that I reported on in November 2002 involving a known Hezbollah terrorist who received naturalization approval, immigration officials resubmitted 2.7 million names of applicants to the FBI for additional scrutiny. The Post reports that “[m]ore than five years later, the FBI is only now emerging from that huge load, with about 5,800 names left to be rechecked.”

But the pile-up persists:

About 90 percent of name checks, officials say, emerge with no matches within three months, after an automated search of databases. But the remaining 10 percent can take months or years, as 30 analysts and assistants must coordinate with 56 field offices and retrieve files stored in 265 locations nationwide.

As a result, the FBI has fallen further behind on the 1.5 million new names it receives each year from USCIS. Of about 329,000 cases pending as of May, 64 percent were stalled for more than 90 days, 32 percent for more than one year and 17 percent for more than two years.

“No one is happy with the status quo,” said USCIS Deputy Director Jonathan “Jock” Scharfen. “We share the public’s unhappiness with this, and we’re committed to improving the process.”

How about we fix that process before adding millions more “guest worker” applications to the bureaucratic mess?

How about we make legal immigrant applicants the priority over illegal aliens for once?

How about we clear the obstructions to the “path to citizenship” for those who followed the rules and came here the right way before we start paving the “path to citizenship” for those who did it the wrong way?

When the shamnesty proponents start blubbering about compassion and fairness, ask them where their compassion is for the hundreds of thousands of legal immigrant applicants who are getting screwed–and who have paid far more in legal fees and processing fees than the measly, cosmetic “fine” the shamnesty plan proposes for illegal aliens.

As I wrote back in January, when I warned of the Coming Amnesty Disaster while too many people were still snoozing:

We are incapable of imposing order and handling the current crush of legal immigrant applicants in a fair and timely way. You want “comprehensive immigration reform”? Start with border control, reliable adjudications, consistent interior enforcement, and efficient and effective deportation policies. And don’t pretend that piling on is going to fix a darned thing.

Memo to the White House: Clear the damn backlogs first.

Memo to Congress: Clear the damn backlogs first.

Memo to the GOP Senate wafflers: Clear the damn backlogs first.

Need it on a bumper sticker? Here:


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Categories: Adjudication, Catch-And-Release, Sanctuary Cities, Southern Border