Saturday, December 17, 2016

Taming U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services

Some months ago, long before most thought Donald J. Trump would be elected President of these United States, I laid out in detail who would be his allies and who would be his enemies in the immigration bureaucracy at the Department of Homeland Security.  I cannot say that I was predicting his win, I was pessimistic on his chances, but not without cautious hope.  What I did warn was that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would actively undermine and thwart his initiatives and policies.  And I made some suggestions on how to deal with those hostile bureaucrats. 

But the real problem will be with USCIS.  The management is overwhelmingly in support of illegal immigration and the illegal aliens who are in effect their “customers.” USCIS has decided it is not a law enforcement agency, but a service agency.  The management at all levels is politically corrupt and will approve any benefit for aliens—even if it is illegal to provide that benefit to an alien.  It needs to be cleaned out from top to bottom.
[President Trump Will Have Foes In Immigration Bureaucracy—But Also Friends. They Can Help Him Win, by Federale, VDare, April 25, 2016]

I suggested a two prong attack on the vipers in the nest at USCIS, one replace their managers with managers from other DHS components, the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE ERO) and re-organize the DHS enforcement components along the lines required in the Homeland Security Act (HSA):

President Trump will certainly have his work cut out for him on the immigration bureaucracy front. A good strategy will be to replace ICE HSI and USCIS managers and attorneys with current and retired Border Patrol and ICE ERO managers and attorneys.

A further strategy: actually to follow the Homeland Security Act (HSA) and replace the current bureaucratic arrangement of ICE and CBP with what the Act mandates—a Bureau of Border Security (BBS). This would replacing the current components and sub-components with one management team that integrates them all. The components would report to one manager at the local level and one manager in Washington DC, similar to how things were done in the old INS.

That is a good starting point.  But USCIS represents a problem, as it is statutorily required and cannot be replaced with a pen and a phone.  However, besides replacing or moving personnel, there is other action that soon to be President Trump can take with his pen and phone.

USCIS has its own policies regarding training, personnel, enforcement actions, arrests, uniforms, and their presentation of the agency to the public.  President Trump, and the person appointed as Director of USCIS and his subordinates, can change all that immediately.

The management of USCIS, even under Jorge Bush, considered itself a customer service agency, with aliens as the customers to be satisfied, from the beginning of its creation by the HSA. It was hostile to immigration law enforcement and had no concern for fraud in the programs it administered.  Its implied policy was the customer, the alien, was always right.  Consequently, it gave us massive fraud and Muslim terrorism.  

This problem with the attitude of USCIS pandering to aliens can be ended immediately by the Trump 
Administration with a public statement by their new Director of USCIS to the employees and public that USCIS has a new mission statement to replace the flaccid and accommodating mission and vision statement, newly declaring that USCIS is a law enforcement agency dedicated to protecting the United States from fraud and terrorism.  Something like this:

USCIS is the leading agency in protecting the American people through enforcing the integrity of America's immigration system by aggressive fraud detection, counter-terrorism screening, and enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States.

That, of course, will throw USCIS upper and middle managers, the Treason Bar, and the ethnic lobbies into a frenzy, but it will resonate with the American people. 

Other attitude adjustment at USCIS is a change in training.  Currently USCIS Immigration Service Officers (ISO) go through a touchy-feely training program based on satisfying the customer, e.g. approving benefits for aliens.  It is only a few weeks long. Replace that training with the training program for Deportation Officers (DO) and Immigration Enforcement Agents (IEA), a longer and enforcement oriented training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

While USCIS ISOs have arrest authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as immigration officers, USCIS refuses to allow its officers to make arrests, nor does it issue law enforcement equipment necessary to make arrests, such as firearms and handcuffs.  The Trump Administration can immediately change that, instructing USCIS officers to make arrests as immigration officers and immediately issue the equipment needed, including firearms.  

Correspondingly, the new Director of USCIS could immediately institute a uniform policy for the agency.  As a suggestion, USCIS should adopt the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) uniform and uniform policies, with the only change a USCIS shoulder patch replacing the Border Patrol shoulder patch.

USCIS Shoulder Patch

USBP Shoulder Patch

USBP Dress Uniform, Easily Modified For USCIS With Above Patch

Again, these changes would give the Treason Bar, USCIS management, and the alien lobby conniption fits.  All hate the Border Patrol, and don't want to be associated with the USBP in any manner.   As a benefit though many USCIS managers, attorneys, and incompetent employees would resign in protest.  Which would only open up the opportunity to fill middle management with immigration enforcement enthusiasts. 

The new Director should also immediate policies related to fraud detection, placing aliens in removal proceedings, and using Expedited Removal.  Currently, USCIS has a policy of discouraging placing illegal aliens it encounters in removal proceedings.  Instead of arresting and serving illegal aliens with a Form I-862Notice To Appear (NTA), the legal document charging an alien with an immigration law violation, as required by law, USCIS takes no action against most illegal aliens it encounters after denying a benefit.  In some cases it sends cases of illegal aliens to a committee to decide if to serve with an NTA, where most are quashed, the whole purpose of the committees in the first place.

The Trump Administration could also save millions of dollars for the new border wall and fence by closing USCIS offices overseas, especially the refugee processing offices in Frankfurt, Rome, and Bangkok.  Most of these offices, other than the Fraud Detection and National Security Officer functions overseas are sinecures and rewards for favored employees, from which little good, and much that is bad originates.

So there is much President Trump, Secretary John Kelly, and hopefully Deputy Secretary Kris Kobach can do with their pens and phones.  None of which requires any changes in the law, though to be fully successful, changes in the law are necessary as all of DHS needs to be reformed.  Time to act, and as close to January 20, 2016 the better.

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