AUGUST 21, 2006
A law that requires a Homeland Security agency to issue work authorizations to illegal aliens not only presents a grave national security concern, it also grants potential terrorists access to a Social Security card and driver’s license.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is required, under federal law, to issue so-called interim benefits to aliens who have applied for U.S. residency if their application for permanent residency is not acted on within 90 days. These work authorizations also allow aliens to get Social Security cards and driver’s licenses.
Concerns about this little-known loophole in U.S. immigration law were recently brought to the attention of federal officials by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, who wrote U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Emilio Gonzalez a letter listing them. The senator asked that “once an unauthorized alien gets an interim benefit, what will ensure that we ever see them again?” He also pointed out that this loophole could easily be exploited and therefore authorities need to be certain that people getting these types of documents have been properly screened.
Several government reports have also questioned this law, including the Congressional investigative Government Accountability Office, which pointed out problems with benefits issued to applicants whose eligibility and potential risk to national security had not been fully determined. Another GAO report pointed out that even when adjudicators rejected applications based on fraud, some of the aliens had already received interim benefits while their applications were pending.
Additionally, the ombudsman for the very agency issuing the interim benefits to illegal aliens has also been highly critical of the practice. The Citizenship and Immigration Services ombudsman provides recommendations for resolving employer problems with the agency and identifies problem areas. Its 2006 annual report to Congress states that the so-called interim benefits to aliens is a pervasive and serious problem that continues to be a concern.
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