1. Chronic Backlogs at USCIS Show Agency Is Not Ready for CIR-ASAP

Excerpt: One of the many reasons why lawmakers have been loath to enact a mass amnesty and immigration expansion, such as the new Democratic amnesty bill (HR 4321, or CIR-ASAP), has been the government’s chronically poor performance in administering all of our current (and previous) immigration benefits programs. Obama administration officials have assured the public that they are ready for this task.1 But a look at the most recent workload report2 from USCIS reveals that the agency is actually still deep in the weeds and unable to keep up with the existing workload. As of the end of June 2009, the agency had a backlog of nearly 2.7 million applications and petitions that were pending review, above and beyond the 1.8 million that had been completed that quarter. And recent statements3 by agency head Alejandro Mayorkas suggest that huge fee increases for immigrants and hundreds of millions of dollars in increased taxpayer-funded appropriations will be required to improve the situation.

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2. Rich Immigrants, in Families of Five, Can Buy Green Cards for $100,000 Each

Excerpt: The headline above was not the headline used by the Washington Post of January 9 over an immigration policy story; the Post’s bland take was: ‘Immigrants invest in U.S. businesses in exchange for visas’, but either heading would have been equally accurate.

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3. Mexicans Reflect on Their Nation’s Future

Excerpt: The opinion pages of the Mexico City daily Reforma are often bubbling with ideas. Three year-end essays struck me as particularly interesting because of their reflections on the future of our southern neighbor.

The first was written by a researcher who said better schools are imperative if the country is to redress its brutal inequality and poverty. The second was a passionate call for civic engagement by a university professor. The third was a grim lament by a journalist who moved to the U.S. a quarter century ago and now claims Mexico is crumbling so badly that millions more will leave as soon as the U.S.economy picks up.

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4. Alien Criminals: Jail or Deport?

Excerpt: Of course, he should have been deported in 1992 after his first brush with the law. But after his felony convictions he served a year or so of his prison sentence and was then deported. The question is, how to best keep scum like this off America’s streets — keep them in prison for their full sentences (which in this case was 15 years, according to a Utah law enforcement source), at a high costs to our taxpayers, or save money by deporting them quickly, raising the possibility of their re-entry. Handing alien criminals over to immigration before the conclusion of their sentences is becoming more common as states look for ways to cut costs; Marketplace did a radio story on this just a couple days ago regarding Arizona.

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5. Open Letter to President Obama on His Leadership Regarding the Christmas Day Plot

Excerpt: Dear Mr. President,

As an American and former counsel to the 9/11 Commission familiar with substantial failings of our government to foil the September 11 terrorist attack, I am concerned about the tenor of your comments of January 5, 2010. You point to ‘substantial failings’ of the intelligence community who held ‘sufficient information’ yet ‘did not connect the dots,’ an outcome you find ‘unacceptable and I will not tolerate.’

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6. BBC Interviews on the Christmas Plot

Excerpt: Below are the full set of interviews I did with BBC 2 Radio in the last 24 hours. In all, my comments follow President Obama’s statements regarding his review of the Christmas Plot.

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7. Adventures in Myth-Busting

Excerpt: The Washington Post’s Outlook section has a regular ‘5 Myths about . . . ‘ feature, this week about ‘keeping America safe from terrorism.’ The author was Stephen Flynn, who has long been scathing in his opposition to any use of immigration-control measures to protect the nation against terrorists. Predictably, myth number three was ‘Getting better control over America’s borders is essential to making us safer,’ which was itself full of myths.

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8. Latest Terror Attempt Shows State Dept. Still Shirking Security Duties

Excerpt: The tale of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian terrorist who nearly blew up a Northwest Airlines plane landing in Detroit on Christmas Day, reveals an alarming number of vulnerabilities in our immigration system still in place, even eight years after 9/11. One of the most troubling is the State Department’s persistent failure to pull its weight in preventing terrorist travel to the United States.

The above is a press release dated Jan. 12 from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: center@cis.org.

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