12:01 AM 06/06/2013
Caroline May
The Daily Caller

Even if the border enforcement mechanisms are strengthened in the Senate immigration bill, the bill will still be “fatally flawed,” according to the head of the union representing 12,000 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudications officers and staff.

In a letter sent to the “Gang of Eight” senators leading the charge on immigration reform Wednesday, Kenneth Palinkas — president of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Council — wrote that even if the Senate immigration bill was re-written to include stronger border provisions, the legislation would still fail to keep America safe.

“[E]ven if you completely rewrote your proposal to resolve the many border security concerns and changed the ordering to delay legalization, the legislation would still fail—and would still endanger the public—because of the fatally flawed interior enforcement components,” Palinkas wrote in the letter obtained by The Daily Caller.

Palinkas and his union were among many signers of a coalition law enforcement letter sent to members of Congress last month, which insisted that the legislation would “be a significant barrier to the creation of a safe and lawful system of immigration.”

Wednesday’s letter followed a letter from four powerful Senate Republicans, all on the Senate Judiciary Committee — Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions, Mike Lee, and Chuck Grassley — warning their Senate colleagues that the immigration bill would not secure the borders and leave the immigration system “deeply dysfunctional.”

According to Palinkas, the Senate immigration bill massively increase the level of Citizenship and Immigration Services casework but make no reforms to alleviate the problems in the adjudications process.

“The result is predictable: if passed, S. 744 would lead to the rubber-stamping of millions of applications for both amnesty and future admissions, putting the public safety and the taxpayer at risk,” he wrote.

Along with his note to the Gang of Eight, Palinkas enclosed the law enforcement coalition letter and a statement he provided last month detailing his union’s concerns with the legislation.

“As long as these concerns are not fixed by Congress, S. 744 will weaken the integrity of our immigration system,” Palinkas wrote. “I would urge you to remove all of the provisions in S. 744 that make it even more difficult for adjudicators to deny applications and to initiate removal proceedings and to replace them with provisions that enhance our ability to investigate fraud and criminal activity, which is now widely overlooked.”

He explained that USCIS is currently stretched extremely thin — to the point at which adjudications officers cannot take the necessary deliberative time to consider applications responsibly.

“We are currently lacking the manpower, training, office space, and mission support to achieve what our jobs demand,” he added. “This, along with impossible time constraints imposed on each and every adjudicator to complete our assigned caseloads and the dangerous pressure to hurriedly approve applications, cries out for reconsideration of S.744 in its present form.”

“Why would the Senate pass a bill that makes it even more difficult for USCIS officers to identify, remove, or keep out public safety threats? Yet that’s exactly what the scores of interior enforcement waivers, discretions, and exemptions in S. 744 would do,” he concluded, offering to work with lawmakers to help take on the issues he sees, “that make things better — not worse.”