The Obama Administration admitted late Friday that a huge hole in their vetting process had allowed significant numbers of naturalizations to occur without even cursory FBI name vetting.
The massive security breach was ultimately revealed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who turned over internal Obama Administration emails.
In the internal email Mr. Goodlatte obtained, the associate director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ordered all officers “not to approve or oath any naturalization cases in ELIS,” referring to the Electronic Immigration System that’s the case management system for processing applications.
“At this point we are not confident that proper FBI Name Checks have been run on certain ELIS cases. At this point we are uncertain of the scope of the problem,” Daniel M. Renaud, the associate director, said in the email.
FBI name checks are a critical part of the application process, giving immigration officers a look at potential criminal histories or other national security red flags that would make someone ineligible for citizenship.
The extent of the breach is still unknown but it was serious enough for immigration authorities to cancel all upcoming naturalization oaths and to require written authorization for any special cases.
Some 175 immigrants were approved for citizenship even though their names weren’t properly run through the FBI’s name-check databases, potentially missing red flags that may have disqualified them from naturalization, the Obama administration admitted this weekend.
This is not the first security breach in the naturalization process:
It was another embarrassing black eye for USCIS, which earlier this year admitted it had granted citizenship to hundreds of criminals who should have been barred but who escaped notice because the agency wasn’t properly checking their fingerprints. Tens of thousands of fingerprints remain in paper files, and the agency was only checking electronic records, an internal audit said.
If the Obama Administration is unable to complete a simple vetting process for immigrants who are trying to be come citizens, imagine how their vetting process for so-called “refugees” many of whom are actually budding terrorists is working.