ImmigrationDHS no longer conducts regular background checks of immigration applicants

Published 24 June 2013

DHS is no longer conducting ordinary background checks because of the increase in the volume of amnesty applications which followed President Obama’s executive order, which took effect on 15 August last year. Skeptical lawmakers may wonder whether DHS can handle the millions of applications which will follow the immigration bill if it is passed, if the department cannot handle the hundreds of thousands which followed the executive order. 

Last week Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group released a report showing that DHS is no longer conducting  ordinary background checks because of the increase in the volume of amnesty applications which followed President Obama’s executive order, which took effect on 15 August last year.

The Foundry notes this move by DHS may persuade undecided senators to oppose the immigration bill, because they would wonder how DHS will manage more than ten million amnesty applications if an immigration bill is passed.

Under the Senate immigration bill, the majority of the 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States would have to pass a background check to be granted registered provisional status. DHS would now only have six months to prepare for the amnesty applications and background checks.

The agency will also have to create a border security plan, a biometric entry-exit system, administer new visas, oversee a new agricultural worker programs, and develop a new employment verification program.

The report, which Judicial Watch assembled from e-mails and other documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, says that DHS agents operated under irregular and inconsistent orders when it came to managing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. As a result, DHS, in September 2012, adopted a “lean and light” system of background checks, in which only a few randomly selected applications were processed.

The report goes on to say that three days after Obama was re-elected, DHS was told to “put all DACA work on hold until further notice.” Judicial Watch says it received no documents showing on  when DHS will resume background checks, or whether they have been resumed.

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