A flaw in immigration bill--shortage of bureacrats to implement it

Kris Kobach:

ONE of the biggest - and least discussed - problems with the immigration bill now before the Senate is the sheer impossibility of implementing it.

The measure would triple the workload at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - an agency that the Government Accountability Office says is already at the breaking point. It's an invitation not only to fraud, but to any terrorist group or criminal gang that's looking to insert minions into America.

AT the center of the bill is the massive "Z visa" amnesty - whereby virtually all of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the country could become lawfully present, able to renew the visa indefinitely until they die.

To qualify, an alien must have entered before Jan. 1, and have remained in the United States ever since. Each applicant must also have a job or be the parent, child or spouse of someone who does.

Many of the bill's advocates claim the amnesty doesn't take effect until some future date - after the measure's border-security goals are met. Not true - at least, not in effect. The amnesty starts immediately - with the issuance of probationary Z visas.

And that qualifier means little: The probationary visa is nearly as good as the non-probationary one, giving the alien immediate lawful status, protection from deportation and work authorization the alien to work. He or she can exit and re-enter the country (with advance permission).

It will extremely hard for the government to prevent criminals and terrorists from getting these probationary visas. The bill allows the federal government only one business day to do a "background check" on each applicant.

The bill's authors seem ignorant of what this means in practice. The government has no single, readily searchable database of all the world's dangerous people. Much of the relevant information exists only on paper, while foreign governments are the source for other data.

NOR does the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have the resources to implement an amnesty on this scale. Consider a few numbers.

On top of the millions of illegals already in the country, we can expect a mass influx of millions of new illegals arriving to fraudulently apply for the amnesty. Fraud won't be hard: To show they were "actually" here before Jan. 1, the bill requires USCIS workers to accept any bank statement, pay stub, remittance receipt or similar record - all easily forgeable.

This is exactly what happened with the 1986 amnesty. Hundreds of thousands streamed across the border to fraudulently apply. Caseworkers found 398,000 cases of fraud - and no one knows how much fraud went undetected.


So, we have 3,000 people hit with 48,000 applications a day. Of course, on some days - or in some offices - the number could easily double. And with each application, the adjudicator has only one day to determine if the alien is a criminal or a national security threat.

It gets worse. Those numbers assume that the adjudicators aren't already busy. In fact, they're swamped.


There is much more.

This is the kind of situation that resulted in billions of dollars in fraudulent claims after Katrina where government employees were overwhelmed with applications for benefits with no time or ability to verify claims until after the fact. It also highlights how quickly the real amnesty will be in effect. These people will also never have to pay the $5,000 fine unless they apply for citizenship.


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