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Green cardsUSCIS Green Card issuance problems even worse than initial findings: DHS OIG

Published 23 November 2016

A new DHS OIG reports says that the problems USCIS experienced in properly issuing Green Cards are worse than originally thought. USCIS produced at least 19,000 cards that included incorrect information or were issued in duplicate. Additional mistakes included over 2,400 immigrants approved for 2-year conditional residence status being inadvertently issued cards with 10-year expiration dates. The agency also received over 200,000 reports of cards potentially misdelivered, or not being delivered to approved applicants.

A new Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) report concludes that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to struggle to ensure proper Green Card issuance. The audit was conducted as a follow-up to a March 2016 report in which the DHS OIG disclosed that USCIS had sent potentially hundreds of Green Cards to the wrong addresses.

DHS OIG says that, in fact, the problem was far worse than originally thought. Over the last three years, USCIS produced at least 19,000 cards that included incorrect information or were issued in duplicate. Additional mistakes included over 2,400 immigrants approved for 2-year conditional residence status being inadvertently issued cards with 10-year expiration dates. The agency also received over 200,000 reports of cards potentially misdelivered, or not being delivered to approved applicants.

The majority of the card issuance errors were due to the flawed design and functionality problems in the agency’s Electronic Immigration System (ELIS). The delays and cost overruns of the ELIS system have been documented in previous OIG reports. Although USCIS conducted a number of efforts to recover the inappropriately issued and missing cards, its efforts to address the errors have been inadequate.

“It appears that thousands of Green Cards have simply gone missing. In the wrong hands, Green Cards may enable terrorists, criminals, and undocumented aliens to remain in the United States,” said Inspector General John Roth. “It is vital that USCIS ensure better tools and procedures are in place to mitigate such risks.”

— Read more in Better Safeguards Are Needed in USCIS Green CardIssuance (DHS OIG 2016)