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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Labor union chief calls immigration bill dangerous, sees agency as ‘approval machine’

    Labor union chief calls immigration bill dangerous, sees agency as ‘approval machine’

    By Stephen Dinan
    The Washington Times
    Monday, May 20, 2013


    Illegal immigrants prepare to enter a bus after being processed at the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson Sector headquarters on Aug. 9, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz.

    The Senate’s immigration bill will raise national security risks and the Obama administration will do little more than “rubber-stamp” illegal immigrants into the program, endangering Americans, says the labor union representing the 12,000 employees who will have to approve the applications.

    Kenneth Palinkas, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 119, which represents officers and staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will deliver a damning critique of the Senate bill Monday, according to a copy of his statement obtained by The Washington Times.

    His statement goes well beyond the current debate, portraying an agency intent on approving as many illegal immigrants as possible.

    “The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications,” his remarks say. “USCIS has been turned into an ‘approval machine.’”

    The union becomes the second key Homeland Security Department labor group to oppose the bill. Its opposition dents the bill and deals a blow to the AFL-CIO — the coalition of labor unions that has put major legislative muscle behind the bill this year but is seeing its members peel off.

    Mr. Palinkas says the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators who wrote the Senate bill never talked to the USCIS and that the legislation is riddled with special-interest loopholes and shirks security checks.

    “The legislation was written with special interests — producing a bill that makes the current system worse, not better,” Mr. Palinkas‘ remarks say. The bill “will damage public safety and national security and should be opposed by lawmakers.”

    That was the same complaint made by Chris Crane, chief of the union representing agents and officers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Mr. Crane has said the Senate bill would hurt ICE agents’ ability to enforce the law.

    But the USCIS officers’ opposition could be even more potent. They describe themselves as the “backbone” of any legalization effort — the officers who will have to review each application and decide whether it meets the standards and whether the person is a security risk.

    Their warnings could carry weight with lawmakers worried about a repeat of the amnesty in 1986, when hundreds of thousands of immigrants defrauded the system. All sides say they want to avoid the same scenario.

    Chief among the USCIS union’s worries is the way the administration has handled President Obama’s non-deportation policy for “Dreamers” — illegal immigrants who arrived as children and who the Obama administration has said should not be deported.

    Last year, Mr. Obama announced a policy titled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that grants a two-year stay of deportation and work permits.

    The latest statistics show that the administration is approving almost every application it receives: 99.2 percent of all applications decided through the end of April, according to numbers released Friday.

    About 500,000 applications have been submitted in the 8 months the deferred action has been available. Of those, 291,859 have been approved while 2,352 have been denied. The rest are still in processing.

    The action is seen as a test-run should Congress pass the Senate’s legalization bill, which would apply to a broad swath of 11 million illegal immigrants estimated to be in the U.S.

    Mr. Palinkas said the reason so many deferred action applicants are being approved is because the Obama administration has determined that they don’t need in-person interviews, which “virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk.”

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is working its way through hundreds of amendments to the bill written by the Gang of Eight.

    The crux of the bill gives quick legal status to illegal immigrants but withholds the full path to citizenship until the Homeland Security Department spends more on border security, puts an electronic verification system for workers into place and creates a working entry-exit system to check visitors as they come and go at airports and seaports.

    Obama administration officials cheered the progress from the sidelines Sunday.

    “Comprehensive immigration reform is continuing to move forward in the Senate. That’s a really good sign,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday.

    The ICE and USCIS union objections could become a problem for the AFL-CIO, which enthusiastically embraced the bill this year.

    Mr. Crane has accused the AFL-CIO of “threatening” those who disagreed with its stance.

    The AFL-CIO has put major muscle behind this year’s push for the Senate bill, having negotiated terms of the legislation’s guest-worker program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    On a conference call with reporters this month, Ana Avendano, who works on immigration issues for the AFL-CIO, said the union saw such positive signs for passage that Mr. Obama should stop most deportations now because the bill likely would give the immigrants legal status.

    She also disputed a reporter’s characterization of opponents’ efforts to poke holes in the bill, saying the coalition behind the legislation remains strong.

    “It’s dangerous to treat the bill as fragile because it’s not fragile. By treating it as fragile, it really gives the nativists power,” she said.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...#ixzz2TpUAjasI
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Immigration officers union warns against Senate immigration bill

    05/20/2013

    Caroline May
    Political Reporter/Daily Caller

    The president of the union representing 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudications officers and staff has added his name to a letter of law enforcement officials detailing their concerns about the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.

    In a statement to be released Monday, obtained by The Daily Caller, Kenneth Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, offers his AFL-CIO affiliated union’s concerns with the current immigration system and contends that the Senate bill does not address those concerns. He further points out that, like the Immigration and Custom Enforcement employees union, the USCIS Council was not consulted in the bill’s drafting and urges lawmakers to oppose the bill.

    “We at USCIS are honored to stand with immigration officers and law enforcement officials across the nation,” says Palinkas in the statement. “Dedicated USCIS adjudications officers and staff perform the indispensable work of reviewing millions of applications every single year for those seeking to receive visas, become citizens and permanent residents, or to otherwise adjust their immigration status.

    The mission of our federal employees is critical to identifying threats and providing for public safety and national security. We are the very backbone of our nation’s immigration system and will be at the center of implementing any immigration reform.”

    According to Palinkas’ statement and the letter — signed by over 40 law enforcement officials, including National Immigration and Custom Enforcement Council President Chris Crane and chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, Zach Taylor — the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill will not correct the current enforcement problems endemic to America’s immigration system. The letter was distributed to every member of Congress earlier this month.

    In his statement, Palinkas highlights nine issues his union believes the Gang of Eight legislation fails to address with the current immigration system, including the fact that Palinkas says USCIS has become an application “approval machine” where few applications are denied due to a “rubber stamp” culture, “discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications.”

    The bureaucracy of the current immigration system, Palinkas argues, makes coordination with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents difficult and “USCIS officers are pressured to approve visa applications for many individuals ICE agents have determined should be placed into deportation proceedings.”

    Palinkas further decries what he calls Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s “secretive panels,” which must approve USCIS officers’ notices for illegal immigrants to appear before federal judges to be put in removal proceedings.

    “USCIS officers who identify illegal aliens that, in accordance with law should be placed into immigration removal proceedings before a federal judge, are prevented from exercising their authority and responsibility to issue Notices To Appear (NTAs),” the statement reads.

    “In the rare case that an officer attempts to issue an NTA, it must first be approved by a secretive panel created under DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, which often denies the officer’s request. Illegal aliens are then permitted to remain in the United States as USCIS officers are not able to take action or contact ICE agents for assistance.”

    According to Palinkas, USCIS is currently in the business of catering to illegal immigrants and their lawyers, not the American people and the rule of law.

    “While we believe in treating all people with respect, we are concerned that this agency tasked with such a vital security mission is too greatly influenced by special interest groups—to the point that it no longer properly performs its mission,” the statement reads.
    The approval rate for illegal immigrants’ applications for legal status under the Obama administration’s deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) policies, Palinkas added, is currently 99.5 percent.

    “DHS and USCIS leadership have intentionally established an application process for DACA applicants that bypasses traditional in-person investigatory interviews with trained USCIS adjudications officers,” he says.

    “These practices were put in place to stop proper screening and enforcement, and guarantee that applications will be rubber-stamped for approval, a practice that virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk.”

    Further, Palinkas says that while illegal immigrants applying for legal status under DACA are required to pay a fee, DHS and USCIC have been waiving these fees, something he expects to continue if the Senate immigration bill becomes law. He adds that taxpayers are currently “absorbing the cost of over $200 million worth of fee waivers bestowed on applicants for naturalization during the last fiscal year.”

    “This is in addition to the strain put on our Social Security system that has been depleted by an onslaught of refugees receiving SSI benefits as soon as their feet touch U.S. soil,” he says.

    Palinkas’ statement goes on to say that large portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act “are not effectively enforced for legal immigrants and visa holders, including laws regarding public charges as well as many other provisions, as USCIS lacks the resources to adequately screen and scrutinize legal immigrants and non-immigrants seeking status adjustment.”

    “There is also insufficient screening and monitoring of student visas” and an ineffective USCIS computer system, the statement says, which allows immigrants to upload their information. The program, he says, costs $2 billion but currently only accepts one form.
    “In closing, the legislation will provide legal status to millions of visa overstays while failing to provide for necessary in-person interviews,’ Palinkas says in the statement.

    “Legal status is also explicitly granted to millions who have committed serious immigration and criminal offenses, while dramatically boosting future immigration without correcting the flaws in our current legal immigration process. We need immigration reform that works. This legislation, sadly, will not.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/20/im...#ixzz2Tq4xTtBX

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Amnesty Opposition Grows

    Union representing immigration officials opposes immigration reform



    BY: Alana Goodman

    May 20, 2013 12:01 am

    The union representing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will officially oppose the proposed Senate immigration reform legislation on Monday, according to an advance statement obtained by theWashington Free Beacon.
    The National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council (USCIS Council) says the legislation fails to address its top concerns about the current system, including the pressure on USCIS officers to approve visa applications without thorough review and the bureaucratic barricades that prevent them from coordinating with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials.

    Sources say it is highly unusual for the USCIS Council to weigh in publicly on legislation.

    The USCIS Council, whose members would play a key role in implementing the proposed immigration law, will be the second of three government immigration services union to oppose the so-called Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Council, which represents ICE officials, has also been a vocal critic of the legislation.

    The USCIS is in charge of processing residency and visa applications, and would be responsible for handling the millions of legalization applications that would come before the agency should the Gang of Eight legislation become law.

    “Like the ICE Council, the USCIS Council was not consulted in the crafting of the Gang of Eight’s legislation,” wrote USCIS Council president Kenneth Palinkas in a statement. “Instead, the legislation was written with special interests—producing a bill that makes the current system worse, not better. S. 744 will damage public safety and national security and should be opposed by lawmakers.”

    “The legislation will provide legal status to millions of visa overstays while failing to provide for necessary in-person interviews,” said Palinkas “We need immigration reform that works. This legislation, sadly, will not.”

    The USCIS Council said it would add its name to a May 14 letter to Congress organized by the ICE Council.

    The letter, which has been signed by 44 law enforcement officials and sheriffs associations across the country, argues that the proposal “fails to meet the needs of the law enforcement community and would, in fact, be a significant barrier to the creation of a safe and lawful system of immigration.”

    Republican supporters of the bill say it will help strengthen the current immigration enforcement process. One GOP congressional aide said the growing opposition from immigration enforcement unions undercuts that argument.

    “This just furthers my impression that the Democrats wrote the bill and the Republicans wrote the talking points,” said the aide.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation will continue on Monday, and is expected to wrap up later this week.
    http://freebeacon.com/amnesty-opposition-grows/


  4. #4
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    Union for Immigration Processing Officers Joins Opposition to Reform Bill

    by Matthew Boyle 20 May 2013, 7:13 AM PDT
    breitbart.com



    The union representing 12,000 adjudications officers and staff for the United States Citizen and Immigration Services Council (USCIS) came out in opposition to the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill on Monday morning.

    The USCIS Council and its president, Kenneth Palinkas, joined the letter the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, and sheriffs from around the country have signed declaring the 867 page immigration bill makes problems worse for immigration law enforcement rather than better.

    In that letter, law enforcement officials noted that there has been a rush on the border by illegal immigrants seeking to get inside the United States before the passage of the amnesty bill from the Gang of Eight. They also wrote that the bill “provides no guarantee of increased border security.”

    USCIS officers would be crucial to the implementation of immigration reform if the current bill was passed; USCIS handles the applications of immigrants who want to enter the United States and would be charged with processing the applications for amnesty for the at least 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the United States.

    In a statement announcing his group’s decision to join the ICE Council and others, Palinkas said Gang of Eight members did not consult his officers when crafting the bill. As a result, Palinkas argues, the bill “fails to address some of the most serious concerns the USCIS Council has about the current system which Congress must address.”

    Specifically, Palinkas said under President Barack Obama’s administration, USCIS officers are currently “pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation.”

    “The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications,” Palinkas said. “USCIS has been turned into an ‘approval machine.’” Palinkas argues the Gang of Eight bill does nothing to fix this problem.

    Additionally, Palinkas argues that the bill does not fix current administration policy that treats immigrants applying for entry into the United States as “customers” of the American government.

    “A new USCIS computer system to screen applications known as ‘Transformation’ has proven to be a disaster as the agency has spent upwards of $2 billion for a system that would eventually allow an alien--now referred to as a ‘customer’ under current USCIS policy--to upload their own information via the internet for adjudication purposes,” Palinkas said. “To date, only one form can be accepted into the program that has been in the making for close to 10 years.”

    Palinkas also notes that the Gang of Eight bill does nothing to fix the failures under the current administration for different agencies to coordinate, or de-conflict, on cases involving specific illegal immigrants. “USCIS has created an almost insurmountable bureaucracy which often prevents USCIS adjudications officers from contacting and coordinating with ICE agents and officers in cases that should have their involvement,” Palinkas wrote. “USCIS officers are pressured to approve visa applications for many individuals ICE agents have determined should be placed into deportation proceedings.”

    Yet another issue the bill does not address, Palinkas notes, is a “secretive panel” that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano created that often denies immigration law officers’ requests to enforce the law. “USCIS officers who identify illegal aliens that, in accordance with law should be placed into immigration removal proceedings before a federal judge, are prevented from exercising their authority and responsibility to issue Notices To Appear (NTAs),” Palinkas claims.

    “In the rare case that an officer attempts to issue an NTA, it must first be approved by a secretive panel created under DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, which often denies the officer’s request," Palinkas explains. "Illegal aliens are then permitted to remain in the United States as USCIS officers are not able to take action or contact ICE agents for assistance.”

    Perhaps most importantly, Palinkas argues that the current political leadership at his agency holds the belief that USCIS's role is not to serve America or Americans; rather, he claims they believe that USCIS is supposed to serve the illegal immigrants and the immigration lawyers who come through the doors of the agency on a regular basis.

    “The attitude of USCIS management is not that the Agency serves the American public or the laws of the United States, or public safety and national security, but instead that the agency serves illegal aliens and the attorneys which represent them,” Palinkas said. “While we believe in treating all people with respect, we are concerned that this agency tasked with such a vital security mission is too greatly influenced by special interest groups—to the point that it no longer properly performs its mission.”

    Palinkas also notes that under the current law and system, USCIS reports a 99.5 percent approval rating for illegal immigrants seeking legal residency inside the United States. He said that high percentage began with President Obama’s and Secretary Napolitano’s new “deferred action” policy unveiled last summer. In addition, over the past year, Palinkas said USCIS has waived more than $200 million in fees from illegal immigrants seeking legal status.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...proval-machine
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  5. #5
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    Added first article to the Homepage:
    http://www.alipac.us/content.php?r=1...roval-machine’
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