DHS Finds Holes in Immigrant Vetting Process

(RightWing.org) – Millions of migrants have come to the United States in each of the last few years, seeking entry for a variety of reasons. Some are wishing to move here for a better life, while others are seeking asylum from dangerous situations in their home countries. Some have less than honorable intentions. When migrants approach ports of entry, they must undergo screening and vetting by various federal agencies. However, a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) shows that there are some glaring holes in the process.

DHS Office of Inspector General Findings

In its report released on June 7, the DHS OIG notes that during Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023), which spanned October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023, “more than 363 million people sought entry into the United States.” This figure includes citizens, noncitizens, and lawful permanent residents. As part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents must vet and screen noncitizens seeking entry and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) personnel hold the responsibility for vetting and screening those seeking asylum.

However, during its investigation, the OIG found that despite the “technology, procedures, and coordination” in place, those measures “were not fully effective.” This leaves the department “at risk of admitting dangerous persons […] or enabling asylum-seekers who may pose significant threats to public safety and national security” into the US interior.

OIG Recommendations

Naturally, these findings are alarming, especially considering the number of crimes committed across the country by immigrants. They have been caught on camera assaulting police officers or stand accused of committing murder, like in the case of Laken Riley and more recently, a 12-year-old girl in Houston, Texas.

To fix these holes, the OIG came back with five recommendations. First, it recommended that the director of the Office of Biometric Identity Management collaborate with the Defense Department to develop and implement data access restrictions for the Automated Biometric Identification System.

The second recommendation was to implement a policy where field offices work together to manage risk “when primary name queries of every traveler are not considered operationally feasible.” The OIG also recommended that the DHS conduct regular technology testing, update screening requirements, and implement a method for continuously monitoring asylum applications pending a decision. The final recommendation was for the USCIS director to come up with a proposal, complete with cost estimates, for automating security checks for asylum applicants.

The DHS reviewed all of the above recommendations and concurred with all of them, detailing actions it was taking to comply.

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