Bad News and Good News for SAVE System

The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to allow federal, state and local government agencies to determine whether a non-citizen applicant is eligible for benefits. Foreign nationals who are in the country illegally, or have not been a legal resident long enough, do not qualify for many government benefit programs.

The DHS Inspector General (IG) delivered a report to Congress last week that identified a major loophole in the system that resulted in a high error rate. According to the IG’s report, one-in-eight status approvals should have been denied. The problem identified in the report was that the status of persons who were put into deportation proceedings – and therefore were no longer entitled to any benefits – was not entered into the SAVE system until and unless they left the country. The audit found aliens incorrectly approved by SAVE received benefit approvals for “…airport badges and Transportation Worker Identification Cards, which provide individuals with access to secure areas, to food stamps, driver’s licenses, and education assistance. Some individuals included in our sample had committed felonies ranging from citizenship fraud to aggravated assault.”

The good news is that the audit was conducted and identified the problem. DHS has accepted the findings of the IG’s report and has agreed to take action on all four recommendations aimed at correcting the problem.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    I am 71 years old and I was born in Omaha, Nebraska by both parents who are U. S. Citizens. I started working when I was 7 years old in Eugene, Oregon, picking beans for 3 1/2 cents per pound. I picked beans to help support the family thru the winter. My dad was a roofer and that was seasonal. I worked for my Social Security benifits and I don’t want a bunch of Illegal Aliens collecting benifits that I worked my *** of for. I also spent 15 years in the U. S. A. F. I do not think that the people that crossed the border illegally sheould not get amnesty or take the jobs from the U. S. Citizens. If the U. S. Citizens get hungry enough, they will take any job that is available even if it is slaving in the field collecting veggies and misqueto bites.

  2. avatar

    What isnt clear about “non-citizen” and here ILLEGALLY. They dont deserve benefits because by simply living here theyre committing a crime, no theyre not allbad but the lawis the law. Why dont they just go to the applicants house and deport them….