DHS abandoned required background checks to meet flood of amnesty requests

Documents I recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) willfully ignored the criminal past of many DACA applicants when those facts came to light despite the agency’s best effort to forgo background checks on them altogether.  Here is yesterday’s press release about it:
Acting on a tip from an FBI agent, I submitted to DHS a FOIA request on October 26, 2012, seeking “all communications, memoranda, emails, policy guidance, directives, initiatives, and any other correspondence respecting the scope and extent of background checks to be performed (or not) on aliens applying to the Obama administration’s DACA program.”  Responsive documents received this month reveal a costly, haphazard screening process, with only cursory review for the backgrounds of illegal aliens seeking “deferred status,”  including:

*   Field offices were told to expect the National Benefits Center (which collects all DACA applications) to conduct only “lean & lite<http://www.scribd.com/doc/145514197/2013-HQFO-00304-Combined-Redacted-Part1#page=47>” background checks, with a St. Paul Field Director conceding to staffers that the new “lean & lite” procedures were for an indefinite period of time. “I just can’t tell you when things will revert back to the way they used to be<http://www.scribd.com/doc/145514197/2013-HQFO-00304-Combined-Redacted-Part1>,” she said.

*   Managerial pressure<http://www.scribd.com/doc/145512920/Ad-Hoc-Background-Check-Policy-Changes> not to turn any illegal alien applicant away for lack of ID, included the explicit directive in an October 3 memo, “Biometric processing should not be refused solely because an applicant does not present an acceptable ID” and the institution of biweekly reporting of rejections where personnel were expected to justify turning anyone away.

*   The documents suggest added taxpayer costs<http://www.scribd.com/doc/145512953/Grow-Govt> for the new deportation deferral program, including unlimited overtime and 40 additional biometrics workstations.  One excerpt even shows that DACA petitions (and those of their relatives) accompanied by worthless checks were also salvaged, despite initial claims that the program would easily pay for itself.

The documents also reveal that, contrary to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s claim that DACA applied only to minors who came to this country illegally “through no fault of their own,<http://www.nationaljournal.com/nationalsecurity/women-in-washington-janet-napolitano-on-cyberthreats-immigration-and-baseball-20120706>” the directive actually created a new avenue of chain migration, whereby immediate relatives of DACA requesters could be approved for amnesty. As a result, according to a June 18, 2012, agency memo from District 15 Director, David Douglas, “some of the districts closer to the U.S./Mexico border have been inundated.”

There is also a specific memo in which a field supervisor demanding that potential DACA rejections be routed to him first.  Unsurprisingly, every subsequent report shows no rejections.  In the backdrop of all this was the discovery that the DACA application of an intern in Senator Menendez’s office, convicted of sexual assault for forcing himself on a neighborhood child, was not immediately rejected due to political concerns.  Following an AP story providing details of the intern’s special treatment, Judicial Watch obtained documents showing that prosecutors exercised their discretion not to arrest him for probation violations and ICE delayed deportation more than three months by direction of officials in Washington:


As I continue to follow up on our tipster’s information, any light you are able to shed on the information presented here will actually help me a great deal in drafting an administrative appeal in connection with the present request.  Let me know, too, if you have any questions respecting the documents I have managed to gather so far or on any of Judicial Watch’s other investigations.

Lisette Garcia, J.D.
Senior Investigator

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