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Politics & Policy

USCIS Is Already Processing 7 Million Immigration-Related Requests Annually—Before Obama’s Amnesty

The agency of the federal government that will be responsible for implementing President Obama’s executive amnesty, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is already required to process millions of petitions and requests on an annual basis. Donald Neufeld, a USCIS official, testified at an oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest this afternoon about the full extent of the agency’s massive workload, which does not yet include cases generated by the president’s newest executive actions.

“USCIS administers the world’s largest immigration system that includes more than 100 immigrant and nonimmigrant visa classifications and more than 200 different forms and applications,” Neufeld said. “In [fiscal year] FY2014, USCIS adjudicated nearly 7 million petitions and requests.”  

The agency’s 19,000 employees must handle all 7 million requests, including immigrant visa petitions, deferred-action requests, and applications for naturalization, among many others.

If the president’s executive amnesty survives judicial scrutiny, those numbers will likely rise. In anticipation of today’s oversight hearing, USCIS union president Kenneth Palinkas issued a statement saying that the agency’s workload could make the country “vulnerable to terrorist threats.”

“By not scrutinizing each and every applicant to the fullest extent possible to ensure America’s security, we invite an even more catastrophic event than what occurred on 09/11/2001,” Palinkas said in a statement. “It is more than likely that any attack from terrorists will come from within the borders of the U.S, and it is further likely that ISIS or Al Qaeda would try to launch these attacks by obtaining a visa or working with elements already here on visas.”

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