Over 850 immigrants from countries “of concern to national security” have been accidentally granted citizenship, according to a report by the Associated Press. The finding was discovered by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general after an audit. Federal authorities plan to deport or remove the immigrants from the United States pending processing.
This comes after months of the Obama administration's defensive posturing against conservatives who have raised objections to the president’s refugee absorption program. To this day, President Obama still argues that the fed’s procedures to vet refugees cannot be topped.
But the disturbing finding of clearly raises questions about the federal government’s ability to accurately monitor immigrants.
According to the Homeland Security Department’s press release, at least 858 cases of mistaken citizenship weren’t caught because the FBI doesn’t have a complete fingerprint database of the aliens the government has deported.
“This situation created opportunities for individuals to gain the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship through fraud,” stated Inspector General John Roth. “To prevent fraud and ensure thorough review of naturalization applications, [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] needs access to these fingerprint records.”
The fed’s incomplete fingerprint database is a result of classic bureaucratic obstacles. “The Department of Homeland Security’s records are incomplete, the release said, because paper fingerprint cards used before 2008 were not consistently digitized,” reports Politico. “The FBI’s records are incomplete because fingerprints collected during immigration enforcement activities were not always shared with the bureau.”
The latest reports of immigration fraud and government incompetence now add further ammunition to Congressional Republican’s grievances with the Obama administration’s seemingly lax refugee policies.
Despite the pushback, the administration is unlikely to change its tune. With just a couple months left in office, President Obama recently approved a plan to raise the country’s refugee acceptance target to 110,000 in fiscal year 2017.