By Joe Guzzardi
January 6, 2012
On Capitol Hill, there’s a race in progress that you’re probably not aware of—and it’s not who will be the Republican presidential nominee.
The contest I’m referring to is to see what the maximum number of visa applications the federal government can approve within the least amount of time. Ineligibility and fraud are not deterrents. Given the nation’s dire economic conditions and its high unemployment rate, the timing of adding thousands of more legal residents is curious, to say the least.
If you’ve followed the presidential candidates’ debates, you may have heard them agree that the United States needs more of what they refer to as the “best and brightest” foreign-born talent. Translated, that means they have joined with many in Congress who call for raising the H-1B visa cap or eliminating it altogether. As a result of this unusual display of bipartisanship, as many as 15 Congressional bills are being advanced with the common goal making more visas available to overseas workers.
Lobbying for more H-1Bs has been mounting for years. But a new and frightening twist in the visa argument has surfaced during the last two weeks.
The Department of Homeland Security, with President Obama’s blessing, is pressuring its Immigration Service Officers to accelerate visa approval for all applicants, even those whose credentials are suspect.
According to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) “inappropriate” intimidation has been put on immigration adjudicators to force them to rubber stamp virtually all applications, the so called “get to yes” policy. Grassley’s sources include the Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s Office’s report and well placed whistleblowers.
Case workers, often subjected to influence from “outside lawyers,” claim they have been forced to act “against their will.” The report’s findings show that more than one-quarter of all adjudicators sense that their jobs are at risk if they don’t green light questionable applications; 90 percent stated that they don’t have sufficient time to adequately review the applications.
At least five agency veterans perceived by DHS administrators as “too tough” were either demoted or relocated. Less senior employees, fearing the same fate, have reluctantly fallen into line. The report also revealed that 14 percent of respondents had serious concerns that employees who brought cases of fraud or ineligibility to their supervisor’s attention were evaluated unfairly. Those same supervisors also violated agency rules by taking cases away from an unwilling officer and reassigning them to someone more pliant.
In another corner of the country, the Florida and Massachusetts Congressional delegations are leaning on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expedite hundreds of thousands of family reunification visas for Haitians.
Last but not least, President Obama’s summer decision to remove from deportation proceedings at least 300,000 illegal aliens has escalated. ICE officers have been scheduled to receive “special training” from the DHS. The revised but extremely lax guidelines would allow all but hardened, convicted criminals to remain. As a bonus, the pardoned aliens would receive work permits. In an encouraging sign however, ICE union officials refuse to allow their members to participate in the training. Chris Crane, union president, says that the DHS directive to his members is tantamount to forcing them to break the law.
Obama’s corrupt forms of amnesty by executive decree represent a calculated gamble that he hopes will curry Hispanic voters’ favor. But the votes the president most needs —moderate Democrats, Independents and the undecided—-are fed up with his duplicitous circumvention of the Constitution. Since middle of the road voters represent a larger bloc than the Hispanics, Obama’s risk-taking may doom him.
Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns, mostly about immigration and related social issues, since 1986. He is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and his columns are syndicated in various U.S. newspapers and websites. Contact him at [email protected].