The federal agency that oversees the U.S. immigration system announced plans to create an internal watch group tasked with monitoring its own workers. The Washington Post learned of the plans to form this internal division from staffers and internal documents. Insiders speculate the new division is being used as a tool to prevent employees from being too lenient with people applying for residency or citizenship.
According to documents obtained by the Washington Post, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is forming an Organization of Professional Responsibility to look more closely at the nearly 26,000 immigration cases the agency manages on a daily basis. This Organization of Professional Responsibility would be organized into three separate divisions.
One of these units, the Investigations Division, would scrutinize cases potentially involving fraud or misconduct. An anonymous inside source said the Investigations Division would crack down on employees who are too forgiving of applicants with criminal charges or those on public assistance.
A USCIS spokesperson says the Office of Professional Responsibility is not aimed at punishing employees, but is actually designed to confirm that proper vetting is done for each applicant. The spokesperson added that no final decision has been made about the creation of this agency to monitor USCIS employees.
A proposed Counterintelligence Agency would prevent penetration by foreign convicted criminals and governments. An Inspections Division would review various aspects of the application process to ensure USCIS agency compliance. The USCIS Director and Deputy Director are expected to oversee the new agency. Those same documents say the oversight office would allow USCIS to operate, “more efficiently and effectively focus on integrity management.” Employees are urged to report misconduct to superiors immediately.
Better Internal Oversight?
Critics of the current administration’s policy on immigration criticize the Director’s change to the USCIS mission statement, after he removed language describing the agency’s dedication to securing “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants,” and made efforts to do away with the existing immigration services model focusing on family-reunification.
Only time will tell if the Organization of Professional Responsibility comes to fruition and proves to reduce immigration abuse as the current USCIS leadership contends. Or rather, if it may prove to be a tool in the anti-immigration arsenal, making a green card and US citizenship all the more unattainable for foreigners.
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