In a further unwinding of national security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is planning to drop FBI name vetting of citizenship applications. Heightening the country’s vulnerability to fraud and exploitation, the agency has already killed a biometrics rule that was scheduled to replace outdated screening protocols.
The dangerous moves were made under the aegis of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14012, cumbersomely and ironically titled “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.” In the White House’s rush to “identify barriers that impede access to immigration benefits,” cutting corners on security has become a top priority.
Already, the U.S. naturalizes hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants every year. In 2019, the latest year for which figures were available, more than 843,500 became naturalized citizens, up from 762,000 in 2018.
While recent public opinion surveys show broad public support for stronger immigration policies, Biden & Co. are speeding in the opposite direction. Dropping FBI name-vetting procedures and biometric analysis are two ways to run up the numbers. So, too, was USCIS’s recent decision to delete gang-related inquiries from green card applications.
“Back when [now-Department of Homeland Security Secretary] Alejandro Mayorkas was USCIS director … he transformed the agency into an immigration benefits rubber-stamping operation with a ‘no alien left behind’ mentality. It’s clear that now the philosophy includes ‘no criminal alien left behind,” says Robert Law, of the Center of Immigration Studies.
Mayorkas’ “get-to-yes” strategies have the immediate effect of cheapening the value of U.S. citizenship, while making this country less safe in the long run.