The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security issued a report last week that highlighted how the Department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has continued to struggle in its effort to ensure that Green Cards are properly issued.
The audit report was completed as part of the government agency’s follow-up to a March 2016 report that disclosed the agency had possibly sent hundreds of Green Cards to the wrong addresses. The audit revealed the problems as initially revealed, were much worse than originally reported.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated that over the last three years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) produced at least 19,000 cards that included incorrect information or were issued in duplicate. Other errors included more than 2,400 immigrants approved for two–year conditional residence status being inadvertently issued cards with 10-year expiration dates. In addition, the agency received over 200,000 reports of cards potentially misdelivered, or not being delivered to approved applicants. Most of the errors were reportedly the result of errors in the department’s electronic immigration system.
According to the report, such errors result in an increased workload and added costs to the agency. In fact, during fiscal year 2015 alone, the USCIS spent nearly $1.5 million dollars to address card-related customer inquiries. Errors can also result in approved applicants being unable to obtain benefits, maintain employment, or prove lawful immigration status.
“It appears that thousands of Green Cards have simply gone missing. In the wrong hands, Green Cards may enable terrorists, criminals, and t h e undocumented to remain in the United States,” Inspector General Roth said when the report was released. He stressed, “It is vital that USCIS ensure better tools and procedures are in place to mitigate such risks.”