The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have reportedly issued thousands of duplicate green cards to immigrants.
Many contain incorrect information and allow these individuals to stay longer than permitted in the United States.
According to a new government oversight report, it warned that the Department of Homeland Security is incapable of tracking immigrants who may pose a security risk to the United States.
According to the new report by the DHS inspector general, the USCIS distributed at least 19,000 green cards to immigrants over the past 3 years that had duplicate or incorrect information.
According to the report:
In July of 2013 – 2,466 green cards had incorrect expiration dates.
In May of 2014 – 5,248 green cards had incorrect names or date of birth.
In June of 2015 – 5,438 green cards had duplicate cards issued.
Between 2013 – 2016 – 12,771 total green cards with incorrect data.
Also over that 3-year period, more than 200,000 immigrants reported their green cards “mysteriously” went missing or were sent to incorrect addresses.
Problems at USCIS have been increasing over the past three years.
The bureau has been deemed incapable of keeping track of green cards and immigrants who have overstayed their legal time in the United States, which is why the DHS stepped in with their oversight report.
And according to the oversight report, which disclosed that green card errors reportedly cost the taxpayers a staggering $1.5 million in 2015:
“In the wrong hands, Green Cards may enable terrorists, criminals, and illegal aliens to remain in the United States and access immigrant benefits.
Responding to card issuance errors has also resulted in additional workload and corresponding costs, as USCIS spent just under $1.5 million to address card related customer inquiries in fiscal year 2015.”
The DHS also reported the rampant problems at USCIS are widespread and systemic, because tracking individuals who have overstayed their time in the United States or who pose a national security risk to the country will be virtually impossible to find; since federal authorities and DHS have already had difficulty locating some of the individuals who received incorrect green cards.
In May 2014, at least 5,280 cards were printed “with incorrect names and/or dates of birth. In some cases, applicants’ cards were printed with ‘No Given Name’ as their first name and with their first and last names combined as the last name.”
In March of 2016, USCIS was caught sending “potentially hundreds of Green Cards to the wrong addresses” due to limitations in the bureau’s filing system.
The DHS inspector general found that, “USCIS was unable to identify the exact number of cards sent to the incorrect addresses.”
Of the at least 18,000 green cards reported “missing” between January and April of 2016, “95 percent were delivered as addressed”, meaning the cards could have been sold on the black market.
The report warned about the black market, “There is a huge black market demand for legal documentation such as Green Cards, which can be used by imposters to reside in the United States or access other individuals’ benefits.”
And the numbers of errors are increasing at USCIS because of their incompetence. Experts say the agency is overwhelmed by an immigration system that cannot handle even some of the simplest tasks.
David Inserra, a policy analyst for Homeland Security and Cyber Security at the Heritage Foundation, explained:
“This program has already been running over time schedule, over budget, really falling short on all these things. It really speaks to a serious problem within USCIS.”
The reality is those cards are out there and could be used for purposes they’re not supposed to be used for. There is a risk of these being misused, despite measures that might be taken to try and clean it up.”