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I repeat: Clear the damn backlogs, first

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 25, 2007 02:34 PM

Following up on my June 17 memo to Washington to clear the damn backlogs, here are two items along the same attack lines:

*The Washington Examiner editorial today hits the nail on the head: “Federal bureaucracy already swamped by legal immigration.” A snippet:

Among the key features of the Bush/Kennedy/McCain immigration reform proposal is the creation of a guest-worker program.

Advocates claim the program will solve the problem of illegal immigration by making every immigrant legal, putting them through a complicated process of bureaucratic red tape. But it won’t work for one simple reason: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency in charge of processing legal immigrants, is an operational disaster. The White House and Congress continue to ignore urgent warnings published in The Examiner and elsewhere of whistleblower Michael Maxwell, who explained more than a year ago that a guest worker program would be a national security disaster.

The former head of security for USCIS, Maxwell documented security breaches that allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter the United States with no independent verification of their identity. An automated system in USCIS even let some foreign nationals bypass all background checks and print out their own green cards and work permits.

The agency, Maxwell told Congress, was “a viper’s nest” of political hacks and career federal employees who covered up criminal allegations of bribery, document fraud, extortion, money laundering and espionage within their ranks.

Maxwell’s testimony, corroborated by congressional staff and investigators at the Government Accountability Office, and a four-part editorial series in The Examiner (“Leaving the front door wide open”), described gaping security holes at USCIS, including the failure to check names against terrorist watch lists and to fingerprint applicants. All the while, USCIS personnel were being offered cash bonuses, time off, movie tickets and gift certificates to speed up processing times for their “customers.”

There were no incentives to keep undesirable applicants out. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s office found that 45,000 high-risk illegal immigrants from countries known to sponsor terrorism were allowed to legally enter the U.S. since 2001.

And the backlog of fugitive immigration cases increases every year…

*Joel Mowbray reports at the WashTimes:

During a contentious Senate hearing last week, consular chief Maura Harty took personal responsibility for the backlog of two million passport applications that has wreaked havoc on honeymoons, family getaways and business trips.

She was hailed by many for her contrite performance. Unfortunately, though Mrs. Harty was apologetic, she was not entirely honest.

The mess occurred because Mrs. Harty’s office prepared for 16.2 million passport applications this year, but that number proved too low by roughly 1.5 million. When questioned at the hearing about how she could have missed the mark so badly, Mrs. Harty tried to shift the blame, responding, “[W]e predicted 16.2 million based on our study with BearingPoint.”

The BearingPoint study, however, did not produce the 16.2 million figure; Mrs. Harty and her staff did. The results of the report, in fact, would have lead to a calculation of approximately 18 million applications this fiscal year — just slightly over the number expected to be filed.

On the heels of creating a backlog of two million passport applications and then misleading Congress about it, Mrs. Harty is poised for a promotion. And unless the White House acts to stop it, Mrs. Harty could soon ascend to one of the top positions at the State Department.

It’s the Washington way: Screw up, move up.

Isn’t it time to end the madness before Americans get hurt again?

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