House Homeland Security Committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) recently decried actions by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that resulted in the mishandling of thousands of green cards over the past three years.
According to a DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) produced approximately 19,000 green cards that included incorrect information or were issued in duplicate.
“Whether it’s aviation security or the security of our immigration system, the American people are losing faith that DHS is able to do its job,” McCaul said. “They are demanding, once and for all, that we secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and shut down all illegal pathways into the United States.”
OIG attributes the errors to design flaws and functionality problems, which may have originated from automation in benefits processing. Over the last three years, USCIS received more than 200,000 reports from apprised applicants about missing cards, while the number of cards sent to wrong addresses has incrementally increased since 2013.
USCIS agreed with the conclusions and recommendations made by the OIG report.
Green cards that are issued mistakenly result in approved applicants being unable to get benefits, maintain employment or prove legal immigration status, the report said. Green cards may also allow criminals to remain in the United States. Furthermore, the increased costs for USCIS to address the errors amounted to nearly $1.5 million in fiscal year 2015 alone.
““This is unacceptable. We cannot let ‘free passes’ into America fall into the wrong hands and be used by terrorists, criminals, or others to hide amongst us,” McCaul said.