DHS’ inspector general released an audit on Monday that showed that around 858 illegal aliens who had pending deportation orders were mistakenly granted citizenship. These illegal aliens, many of whom are from countries that pose national security concerns, were able to commit fraud since DHS did not have their fingerprints on file to check their identity.
“USCIS granted U.S. citizenship to at least 858 individuals ordered deported or removed under another identity when, during the naturalization process, their digital fingerprint records were not in the DHS digital fingerprint repository,” the inspector general said.
The illegal aliens were able to use different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship with USCIS and were not caught because their fingerprints were not in the digital system but still on paper cards.
The report identified as many as 315,000 illegal aliens with final deportation orders or who are fugitive criminals whose fingerprints are missing from federal databases. The report found that most of the paper fingerprint records from the 1990s were never added to the digital database. ICE did not consistently add digital fingerprint data until 2010.
“As a result, USCIS was not made aware of information that may have affected the applicants’ ability to naturalize,” Jim H. Crumpacker, the Homeland Security’s liaison for investigations, said in a memo to the inspector general.
These 858 illegal aliens were from “special interest” countries and two have been linked to terrorism by the FBI. One of the immigrants granted citizenship is now a law enforcement officer and three others worked in security-sensitive fields.
Out of the 858 cases only two have had fraud charges brought against them. ICE officials told the auditors that they did not pursue the cases because federal prosecutors "generally did not accept immigration benefits fraud cases."
The audit recommended that all of the outstanding cases be reviewed and the fingerprints uploaded to the digital system. DHS has agreed and is set to complete the review of the cases by Dec.31 and hope to find a contractor to upload the fingerprints by the end of the year.
Read more on this story at The Washington Times.
Updated: Wed, Nov 2nd 2016 @ 9:05am EDT