Byron York at The Corner:
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan just told reporters on a conference call that the White House supports removing a provision of the immigration bill that gives the government just 24 hours to complete background checks on illegal immigrants. "Frankly, we think there's been a fair amount of misunderstanding" about the provision, Kaplan said. He added that the White House still thinks the 24-hour provision is a good one, but has decided to support a set of amendments put forward by Sen. Lindsey Graham that includes the removal of the 24-hour measure. "We don't think the 24-hour requirement would have had the negative effect" that critics claimed, Kaplan said, but, "We recognize it has been something of a concern." (my emphasis)
No negative effect? Adding 12 million (conservatively) people to the already over-burdened U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would have no negative effect?
Among the key features of the Bush/Kennedy/McCain immigration reform proposal is the creation of a guest-worker program.
Advocates claim the program will solve the problem of illegal immigration by making every immigrant legal, putting them through a complicated process of bureaucratic red tape. But it won’t work for one simple reason: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency in charge of processing legal immigrants, is an operational disaster. The White House and Congress continue to ignore urgent warnings published in The Examiner and elsewhere of whistleblower Michael Maxwell, who explained more than a year ago that a guest worker program would be a national security disaster.
The former head of security for USCIS, Maxwell documented security breaches that allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter the United States with no independent verification of their identity. An automated system in USCIS even let some foreign nationals bypass all background checks and print out their own green cards and work permits.
The agency, Maxwell told Congress, was “a viper’s nest” of political hacks and career federal employees who covered up criminal allegations of bribery, document fraud, extortion, money laundering and espionage within their ranks.
Blogger Michelle Malkin reported in January that, under pressure to reduce their backlog, USCIS supervisors in California ordered workers to destroy 90,000 identity documents, including “passports, birth certificates, approval notices, change of address forms, diplomas and money orders” — like a mail carrier dumping a too-heavy load instead of delivering it.
Does this sound like an agency that can responsibly handle even one more case, let alone another 12 million to 20 million, as proposed by Bush/Kennedy/McCain?
No, it does not. President Bush is either so out of touch he has no clue about the disaster the current immigration bill would cause or he is so determined to get his legacy he does not care. As for the Senate, all they do is pass the bill. They take no responsibility for the consequences.
Michelle Malkin has reported extensively on the horrendous backlog situation. It has been a huge problem for years and should be dealt with regardless of any immigration reform bill, good or bad. We simply cannot heap more responsibility on a government agency that can't process the workload it already has.
What we need is Comprehensive U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Reform. And we need it soon.
Previously posted: Bureaucratic Nightmare;
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Train Wreck of 2007