JUNE 18, 2007
Mismanagement and poor coordination between two U.S. government agencies has led to a major backlog of immigrant background security checks that poses a tremendous threat to the country’s safety.
The agency in charge of conducting the security checks of residents living in the U.S. and seeking citizenship, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is so inefficient that its backlog has doubled in the last two years to 329,160. This is just the latest mishap for a bureau that has been in trouble recently for its inefficiency and borderline incompetence.
The Homeland Security agency that naturalizes residents applying for U.S. citizenship, the Citizenship and Immigrations Services (CIS), calls the FBI’s backlog unacceptable from a standpoint of national security. In fact, the CIS recently presented a 145-page report to Congress explaining in part the severity of the security backlogs.
Conducted by the agency’s ombudsman, the publication calls the crucial security check backlog a pervasive problem that may increase the risk to national security by prolonging the time a potential criminal or terrorist remains in the country.
The FBI name check program is one of many developed to help protect the nation after the deadly 2001 terrorist attacks. The bureau is supposed to run the names of citizenship applicants against a universal database, compiled in part by law enforcement agencies, of about 90 million names.
In the process, would-be terrorists and other criminals could be screened and incarcerated or deported. Civil rights organizations oppose the security measure, claiming that the database is grossly over inclusive and can produce too many false positives. One renowned civil rights organization went so far as to call it a masterpiece of bureaucratic bumbling that is nonsensical.
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