National Security for Sale at USCIS
SEPTEMBER 21, 2006
The federal agency responsible for preventing immigration fraud is infested with corrupt officers who regularly accept bribes from illegal immigrants in exchange for visas and other official government documents.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, claims that promoting national security is its priority, however, hundreds of employees are being investigated for their involvement in bribery, fraud and foreign influence.
This year alone, five USCIS employees have been arrested or convicted on charges ranging from benefits fraud to embezzlement. This week, an immigration officer in the Los Angeles office was arrested and charged with issuing a visa to an illegal immigrant from Nicaragua. The officer, Maria Barillas, was also charged with accessing government computers without authorization and identity theft.
The rampant corruption among USCIS’s 15,000 employees is clearly overwhelming the agency’s Office of Security and Investigations, which has only four officers investigating more than 3,000 complaints of wrongdoing. Of those, about 500 involve serious allegations such as bribery, fraud and foreign influence.
The Congressman who chairs the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Nonproliferation says this obviously creates a national security compromise which terrorists can easily exploit. California Representative Ed Royce also condemned the USCIS for allocating millions of dollars this year for employee bonuses and parties instead of internal criminal investigations.
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