Government Must Do More To Keep Track of Immigrant Files
While deemed critical, especially in making citizenship decisions, A-files are sometimes missing during adjudications, according to a government watchdog agency. In 2002, naturalization was granted to an alien whose A-file was missing and who was later found to be associated with a terrorist organization, says a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
GAO found that of the naturalization applications adjudicated in 2005, about 30,000—or about 4 percent of them—may have been adjudicated without A-files. The number may be less because USCIS staff are not required to record whether an A-file was available. USCIS officials said that a major reason A-files were not available for naturalization application adjudications is that staff are not using the automated file-tracking system. USCIS officials suggested that staff might not be using the automated file-tracking system for lack of sufficient training on how to use the system, while local management may not be adequately emphasizing the importance of complying with A-file tracking policies and procedures.
"Missing A-files can have an impact on the process of adjudicating naturalization applications in several ways," says GAO, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress. "For example, when an A-file is not available at the location indicated in the automated file-tracking system, additional time is spent trying to locate the file, which slows the adjudication process and applicants may wait longer for USCIS to process their application. In addition, missing A-files can hinder USCIS’ s ability to uncover immigration benefit fraud and limit DHS’ ability to take enforcement actions."
GAO recommends that USCIS require adjudicators to record whether an A-file was available in naturalization adjudications and, with other DHS users of A-files, determine why staff are not complying with file-tracking procedures and correct any deficiencies. GAO says that DHS agreed with its recommendations.
If you can't contribute, please support us by clicking on the Google ad above. Thank you!