U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) isn’t collecting vital information when it screens immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship, according to a new report.
The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group (The DCNF) says that the USCIS doesn’t compile answers to questions on Form N-400, which is the form used to scrutinize applicants. Seemingly important information, such as an applicant’s affiliation with terrorist organizations or whether they’ve voted in a U.S. election, is not used on the vetting form.
Former investigative journalist Mark Sauter, a co-author of a homeland security textbook, said, “This data is critical, it should be aggregated, it should be analyzed.”
Sauter submitted a Freedom of Information Act requesting the data. In response, he received the following from USCIS: “We have completed our search and no records responsive to your request were located.”
“If the U.S. government isn’t doing the most basic form of data collection and data mining, then what the heck is going on?” asks Sauter. “In my estimate, every day they fail to collect data from the N-400 is a day the federal government is not protecting us.”
Sauter says the data could be used to analyze how immigrants from certain countries or regions answer the questions, as well as to show the number of applicants answering disqualifying questions that were rejected or admitted to U.S. citizenship.
Heritage Foundation homeland security expert David Inserra says, “Having those questions and the results on that statistic would confirm that U.S. law is being adhered to in the naturalization process,” adding that the data can’t be queried if it’s not being collected.
Calling it a “significant failure by the U.S. government” Sauter says it’s important find out whether an applicant belongs to a specific hostile group.
He noted that both written answers and those given by an applicant during one-on-one interviews can be used against them later, if they’re found to have been lying. Such an act can be grounds for deportation, while fraud, committed purposely, can result in revocation of citizenship.
According to TheDCNF:
A USCIS official confirmed that applicants have answered that they have ties to terrorist organizations on Form N-400. The agency did not respond to a DCNF request asking if it holds data on naturalization applicants’ answers to interview questions.
Form N-400 also asks the immigrant if they “ever voted in any federal, state or local election in the United States.” The illegal voting answer would provide valuable data. The information may indicate how many immigrants who apply for naturalization have already illegally voted in a U.S. election. The question, posed in a neutral way, doesn’t suggest the act is illegal.
Inserra says, “it’s not necessarily something you would lie about,” and believes the data would be interesting.
The suggestion that three million illegal immigrants may have voted in the 2016 election has been supported by President Donald Trump.
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