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Cotton and Johnson Demand DHS Provide Full Number of People Improperly Granted Citizenship & Other Immigration Benefits

October 13, 2016

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C.- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting that he inform Congress of the full number of people subject to deportation who were improperly granted citizenship and other immigration benefits. A September DHS Inspector General report indicated that 858 to 1,811 such persons were improperly granted citizenship. But in their letter, Senators Cotton and Johnson explain that the report only focused on a slice of all improper immigration benefits, and that the full extent of the immigration fraud committed by persons who were subject to deportation is likely to be significantly larger in scope.

The Inspector General report was limited in two ways. First, it did not report the number of individuals who were improperly granted immigration benefits other than citizenship, such as legal permanent residence or employment-based visas. Second, the Inspector General report focused mainly on individuals granted citizenship who came from special interest countries and countries with high rates of immigration fraud that share a border with a special interest country. While special interest countries do present certain U.S. national security concerns, they make up only a portion of the countries from which individuals subject to deportation orders hail.

In order for the Senate to understand the entire scope of the immigration fraud problem DHS is facing, the Senators requested that Secretary Johnson provide answers to the following questions:

1. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) became naturalized U.S. citizens; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") was reviewing and adjudicating their citizenship application.

2. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted legal permanent residence; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS was reviewing and adjudicating their permanent residence application.

3. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted an employment-based or student visa; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS or another appropriate office was reviewing and adjudicating their visa application.

4. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted a family-based visa; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS or another appropriate office was reviewing and adjudicating their visa application.

5. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted any other immigration benefit not mentioned in questions 1 through 4; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS was reviewing and adjudicating their application for an immigration benefit.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

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