Finally! And to those who have repeatedly said ‘our immigration laws are fine, just enforce them,’ I say, “Enforce this!’

The Washington Post reports on 11/6/08:

The Bush administration has launched a massive overhaul of the nation’s long-troubled immigration services agency, tapping an IBM-led industry consortium to re-invent the way government workers help immigrants obtain visas, seek citizenship and get approval to work in the United States.

Apparently things began to clog right after the formation of the Department of Homeland Security. Our immigration system became broken, despite the fact that over 22,000 workers were attacking the problem on antiquated systems and equipment in 250 locations.

The contract, awarded this week and the largest federal homeland security bid on the market, includes a $14.5 million, 90-day assessment period with options over five years worth $491.1 million, and a ceiling value of up to $3.5 billion if Congress approves a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that unleashes a flood of applications for legal status or other actions.

Many things have hampered updating this new system for USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services): funding, departmental infighting, the focus on ‘the wall,’ border crossing issues, increased security demands, inertia and unpassed bills.

The USCIS transformation effort is a long-awaited, much delayed undertaking that is years behind initial schedule yet considered a cornerstone of any broader effort to fix an immigration system all sides say is one of the most broken bureaucracies in the federal government.
The agency, which was spun off from the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services and merged into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, receives about 6 million to 8 million applications from immigrants a year, but relies on a pre-computer age, paper-based system of 70 million files identified by immigrants’ “A-numbers” or alien registration numbers.

Good for President Bush for making sure that our immigration system gets fixed. By the same token, why wasn’t fixing immigration prioritized years ago? Especially after 9/11, when security was at its pinnacle, why were workers tracking people manually. If we could put man on the moon in 1969 using computers, how come we can’t process immigration requests?

Just think of the problems that would have never happened if our existing immigration system was not broken.

click the Washington Post link above for the full story and thanks to TWINAD for sending this article.

39 Thoughts to “Massive Overhaul of Immigration Services Planned”

  1. Red Dawn

    What has Homeland Security done for us?

  2. Marie

    Does this mean that the people who have had papers hung up at the Labor Dept for 5 or 6 years may finally get processed through? I find it amazing that at the 11th hour of the Bush administration something is being done……. but I guess one should not look a gift horse in the mouth. Just like with the war in Iraq. Obama has been calling for the safe withdrawal of troops which would take place over a period of time. Now the Bush administration has started a withdrawal process.

    This is what Homeland Security has done for us……The Department of Homeland Security was created (DHS) by merging 22 separate agencies into one cohesive department (right!) with a primary mission of protecting the homeland; $11 billion in DHS funds were alloted to support State and local emergency preparedness through 2004; Obtained detection technology and deployed additional personnel to enhance border and transportation security whiche increased spending by nearly $9 billion; Protected the Nation’s aviation system by deploying a screener workforce and state-of-the-art screening equipment; and Secured $5.6 billion as part of the President’s Project BioShield to buy cutting-edge drugs, vaccines, and other medical supplies for biodefense.

  3. Bushies’ last ditch effort to do something for domestic policy….guess he wants to be able to sleep at night.

  4. TWINAD

    One more thing on the antiquated immigration process…when I was in court earlier this week I almost busted out laughing. First the Judge reached into an “interoffice envelope”…remember those bad boys? When was the last time your saw one of those?! Anyway, he reached in there and pulled out…a cassette tape! A full size, white cassette tape, which he then proceeded to insert in a big ‘ole cassette player. They still use full size cassette tapes to record each proceeding. Then they pop it out, stick it in the interoffice envelope, which presumably stays in each immigrant’s file and then the same tape is used to record the immigrant’s next hearing. Geez, they can’t even move to the handheld mini cassette recorders?! What century are we in, anyway?

  5. LOL! TWIN, thanks for the anecdote. Kind of says something, don’t it? 🙂

  6. ShellyB

    My God. I had no idea they weren’t using computers. That’s just unconscionable! And why did Bush wait until now to start on this???? I guess better late than never but the man has known for years that there was a big problem getting people through the system.

  7. Red Dawn

    TWINDAD,

    Was it recorded on Memorex? LOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64vy1-OWdiA

    I was looking for the commercial where they had a heavy metal singer and his pitch broke a glass LIVE and recorded it on a Memorex tape and it did the same thing. 🙁 no luck, but I bet I brought a memory back 🙂

  8. Red Dawn

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!! I have been searching for that commercial ( metal singer breaking glass) AND discovered, I was duped. LOL! I am finding all kinds of versions of the commercial that I thought was NEW at the time( bought them/had to have it)
    I am just laughing at MYSELF that I fell for the slogan/brand …”is it live or is it memorex”? ( 20 some years, is a long time to figure it out…LOL- such an AIRHEAD.LOL 🙂

    Here is the video from the 70’s ( no heavy metal singer, lol)

  9. Elena

    Thanks for posting this MH. Did you hear that Julie Myers is stepping down as the head of ICE? Another cronie appointee that clearly had not leadership ability. I don’t care why Bush has finally acted, as long as he acts that is all I care about. The revelation that USCIS was not even using computers was astounding and obviously explains alot of reasons behind the prolonged wait to garner legal residency in the U.S. and our inability to create a cohesive and effective immigration policy. Geez, step into the 21st century!!!!!

  10. Moon-howler

    Actually ATF had the same problems a few years ago. All the various gun records were kept in shoe boxes and tracked manually. I am trusting this situation was fixed. I read it about 10 years ago.

    This immigration situation is just ridiculous. I can’t even figure point. Somewhere many someone’s dropped the ball. I am glad Bush is all over it, even if it is the 11th hour. I do think our government is too large if this is what happens.

  11. NotGregLetiecq

    ShellyB, perhaps Bush waited until after the election to make waves about immigration to protect McCain for being blamed for the progress by the likes of Corey Stewart.

  12. NotGregLetiecq

    With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Tom Perriello leads Virgin “Anchor Baby” Goode by more than 600 votes in very close Congressional race destined for recount:

    https://www.voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/election/DATA/2008/07261AFC-9ED3-410F-B07D-84D014AB2C6B/Unofficial/6_s.shtml

  13. NotGregLetiecq

    That was a typo. Virgil Goode is a racist and a first rate geek, but a doubt if he is a “virgin.”

  14. NotGregLetiecq

    Aaaaah! there was another typo in my correction. darn it.

  15. SecondAlamo

    By the same token, if we could put men on the moon in 1969 how come we can’t verify a person’s legal status or SSN?

  16. Rick Bentley

    “By the same token, why wasn’t fixing immigration prioritized years ago?”
    Because Bush wanted it broken, because he wanted the level of illegal immigration to continue to be high, because it lowers American wages and effects a money transfer from most of us to the wealthy.

    It must have occurred to him, yes, that Homeland Security is a joke when citizens of other countries can literally walk across the border and work in food processing plants among other places.

    But his core values won out. Consolidate money in the hands of the wealthy.

  17. So Rick, did you vote for Obama? Just curious.

  18. Red 🙂 “Is it real…or is it Memorex?”

  19. Rick Bentley

    I preferred Obama of the two. Frankly there is noone in Washington I’d less rather vote for than McCain after the Amnesty he tried to shove down America’s throats. But I wrote in Lou Dobbs.

    I have hopes for the Obama Presidency though, plenty of good will. (And the moment he flirts with Amnesty, I’ll probably lose all that good will).

  20. Madam MoFo

    Rick, maybe you need to redefine what you see as amnesty brecause either 12 million people are going to have to be deported or a system needs to be in place to legalize the 12 million. Which do you feel will be easier to do?

    How come you are not over getting the crap beaten out of you by the black velvets? Did Greg finally throw you out of there like he did most posters over here?

    I find that rather strange to comprehend, btw. They can’t live with us and can’t live without us. They attacked us when we were there and when we left, they ran over here to attack some more. Probably the same kids who tore wings off insects.

  21. Cat Scratch Fever

    Madam-
    Rick’s a male, and therefore he’ll last longer than those of us that have been here for months now.

    LOL!! “tore wings off insects”. I hope they didn’t kill any praying mantises, because that my friend is a crime.

  22. ShellyB

    It does beg the question, if there really was some kind of connection between immigration and 9/11, why did they wait until 2006 to try to fix the system? Perhaps the connection between immigration and 9/11 is about as sincere as the supposed connection between Iraq and 9/11.

  23. Rick isn’t all that bad. He’s got the corporate welfare and middle/lower class ripoffs down pat. Maybe that’s why GL doesn’t like him. In spite of his immigration views, he’s got a brain.

    –They attacked us when we were there and when we left, they ran over here to attack some more.–

    They have nothing better or productive to do. And they don’t want to expend any intellectual effort. It’s easier to sit there and make racist, generalized comments than it is to think.

  24. Rick Bentley

    I’m Lou Dobbs Jr. basically. If you want to know how I feel just turn on CNN at 7:00? any night and watch him rant and rave.

    “Rick, maybe you need to redefine what you see as amnesty brecause either 12 million people are going to have to be deported or a system needs to be in place to legalize the 12 million. Which do you feel will be easier to do?”

    Come on this is absolute baloney. With a little encouragement most of them will leave, without some “forced deportation by bus” or whatever it is Bush, McCain, kennedy, etc. want us to envision. 60% would leave if they couldn’t work? 80%? I don’t know. But it’s surely worth doing.

  25. Rick Bentley

    On BVBL as well as here, there are some good posters, and some psycho stalker posters.

  26. Rick, people who want to be taken seriously shouldn’t post on BVBL with the psychos just like people who want true immigration reform instead of scapegoating, hatemongering, persecution, and racism shouldn’t belong to HSM. Affiliations really do count.

    For the record, someone recently said I was a “member” of MWB. LOL! First, I’m a little far away to be a member. Second, I don’t believe in open borders. Third, I’m not Mexican, not that you have to be, I suppose. That said, I’m tired of immigrants being picked on. I’m sick and tired of people pretending they know who is “legal” and who is not. And I am sick of people using this debate to run other people out of town instead of curing the real issues which are largely cultural.

    I’m actually kind of in a bad mood, so it’s time for me to take a break from the computer. I’ve been on the horn with the Attorney General’s office about a white collar criminal case I’ve been fighting for a long time now and once again, these people do nothing but support those with money and lawyers. VA doesn’t give a SHIT about us. Make no mistake.

  27. Rick Bentley

    “VA doesn’t give a SHIT about us. Make no mistake.”

    Yes. I noticed this especially when my neighborhood was full of illegal aliens, living outside our norms and societal boundaries (i.e. tracking sex offenders, correlating DUI offenses to real identity), making my family less safe and nobody in government gave a damn.

  28. Alanna

    Any of the regulars interested in starting a Lou Dobb’s youtube channel/blog? I’m kinda serious. Someone needs to confront him on all the crap that he spews on a nightly basis. It could be kinda fun. What do you say? Any takers? We could tivo/dvr the shows and then the following morning have a thread. I’d be willing to take a night.

  29. TWINAD

    Alanna,

    I’m not technically savvy enough for that job! I’m so behind the times that I don’t even have DVR or a TIVO! Sad, I know. I haven’t watch Lou Dobbs since before he started all the crap I read about. I’d be an active poster on what I see, though!

  30. Rick Bentley

    Go for it – maybe after you listen to him for a while you’ll realize he’s RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING!

  31. Moon-howler

    Suggestion: If Hannity and Colmes can have a show, Rick and Alanna can have a show. Point, Counter-point. I will help out if I can be a moderate. If we are always preaching to the choir, it won’t be as much fun. And as someone just said, Rick does have a brain.

    Rick, I will go so far as to say every once in a while Lou Dobbs is right. Oh hell I would say that about Greg even.

  32. Rick…he’s right about EVERYTHING? Come one. NO ONE is right about EVERYTHING, even if you agree with them 🙂

  33. MH, I can’t get myself to say aloud that Greg is right about ANYTHING. It just sticks in my throat….I’ve tried.

  34. Leila

    Rick, Dobbs has been quite famously wrong about a few factual matters. I would also say he’s wrong in philosophy, but the fact stuff is more crucial. What appalled me was his initial response regarding a ridiculous statement on his show about leprosy cases was to say, and I quote, “Well, I can tell you this. If we reported it, it’s a fact.” The arrogance that shows and the lack of respect for accuracy is breathtaking. No journalist and no thinking human being should be capable of such a ridiculous statement.

    Rick, if the “encouragement” you meant for the 12 million was a crackdown on employers that would be one thing. But the sort of “encouragement” you have advocated before has involved torture, branding, beatings and the like. You move from being a reasonable person with reasonable arguments to that kind of rhetoric in the blink of an eye. I’ll sit and think “he doesn’t really mean it,” but then you will assure us that what you really think is far stronger than what you will write here. So you may be Lou Dobbs, but even Dobbs stops short of advocating violence against illegal immigrants and probably would wince at your fixation about any and all things in Spanish.

    The latter two elements suggest it doesn’t really have a lot to do with legal presence or illegal presence, just presence period. And that’s a problem.

    You do write wonderful movie spoofs though, and are persuasive and amusing on many other fronts.

  35. Hey, how come WE don’t get any of Rick’s movie spoofs? Or did I just miss them?

  36. Jurtuna

    SA – putting a man on the moon had the backing of business. Elminating llegal labor evidently does not.

  37. Rampant population growth threatens our economy and quality of life. Immigration, both legal and illegal, are fueling this growth.

    I’m not talking just about the obvious problems that we see in the news – growing dependence on foreign oil, carbon emissions, soaring commodity prices, environmental degradation, etc. I’m talking about the effect upon rising unemployment and poverty in America.

    I should introduce myself. I am the author of a book titled “Five Short Blasts: A New Economic Theory Exposes The Fatal Flaw in Globalization and Its Consequences for America.” To make a long story short, my theory is that, as population density rises beyond some optimum level, per capita consumption of products begins to decline out of the need to conserve space. People who live in crowded conditions simply don’t have enough space to use and store many products. This declining per capita consumption, in the face of rising productivity (per capita output, which always rises), inevitably yields rising unemployment and poverty.

    This theory has huge implications for U.S. policy toward population management, especially immigration policy. Our policies of encouraging high rates of immigration are rooted in the belief of economists that population growth is a good thing, fueling economic growth. Through most of human history, the interests of the common good and business (corporations) were both well-served by continuing population growth. For the common good, we needed more workers to man our factories, producing the goods needed for a high standard of living. This population growth translated into sales volume growth for corporations. Both were happy.

    But, once an optimum population density is breached, their interests diverge. It is in the best interest of the common good to stabilize the population, avoiding an erosion of our quality of life through high unemployment and poverty. However, it is still in the interest of corporations to fuel population growth because, even though per capita consumption goes into decline, total consumption still increases. We now find ourselves in the position of having corporations and economists influencing public policy in a direction that is not in the best interest of the common good.

    The U.N. ranks the U.S. with eight other countries – India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia and China – as accounting for fully half of the world’s population growth by 2050. The U.S. is the only developed country still experiencing third world-like population growth, most of which is due to immigration. It’s absolutely imperative that our population be stabilized, and that’s impossible without dramatically reining in immigration, both legal and illegal.

    If you’re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, I invite you to visit my web site at OpenWindowPublishingCo.com where you can read the preface, join in my blog discussion and, of course, purchase the book if you like. (It’s also available at Amazon.com.)

    Please forgive the somewhat spammish nature of the previous paragraph. I just don’t know how else to inject this new perspective into the immigration debate without drawing attention to the book that explains the theory.

    Pete Murphy
    Author, “Five Short Blasts”

  38. Moon-howler

    Pete, I haven’t studied population growth in about 20 years.

    Do you have any dealings with numbersUSA?

    It is imperative that governments stop listening to bad policy prohibiting contraception.

  39. Elena

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for joining the conversation. Interesting theory, but it has several holes. The biggest gaping one I see is the effect the baber boomers will have on our economy AND our society when they start retiring in the droves. Furthemore, as far as I can tell, the middle of our country is FAR from densely populated. I copied part of this article and look forward to your response.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200801/aging-boomers/2

    No Country for Young Men
    Article Tools
    sponsored by:

    Economic growth derives from a very simple formula; it is basically equal to the increase in the labor force, plus the increase in productivity (the amount that each worker can produce in a given time period). As noted above, the aging of the Boomers will likely dampen productivity growth. That’s too bad, because as the Boomers retire, growth in the labor force will also slow. In fact, if a sort of demographic perfect storm arises, the workforce may shrink.

    For the past two decades, the United States has been in a remarkable sweet spot as far as labor is concerned. The number of annual births was well below the mid-century peak, and the number of elderly was limited by the low birthrates from decades long gone—those of the Great Depression and World War II. As a result, the share of the nation’s population in its working years was exceptionally high. The workforce was swollen further—massively so—by the movement of women into paid work, and the accelerating influx of immigrants. But the percentage of women in the workforce seems to be leveling off, and future immigration rates, given the growing political backlash against immigrants, are anyone’s guess.

    Now come the Boomers, 80 million strong, merrily planning their retirements. Watching their generation move from childhood through adulthood and into old age on demographic charts is like watching a pig move through a python. Thanks to the Boomers’ retirement, by 2020, even if immigration continues at roughly its current pace, the workforce looks likely to be only a little bigger than it is today. If immigration rates were to decline precipitously, all else being equal, the labor force would be roughly 1 million people smaller than it is now.

    Though we talk about the retirement of the Boomers as an impending event, it has already started. Participation in the workforce generally peaks between the ages of 40 and 44, declines slowly throughout the next decade, and then falls off a cliff. Millions of Baby Boomers have already left the workforce, and as more of them become eligible to collect Social Security, the process will accelerate.

    Slower productivity growth and (in the best case) slower workforce growth mean sluggish growth for the economy. That, in turn, will have a host of consequences, ranging from the geopolitical (slower growth could hasten the relative economic decline of the U.S. versus China, India, and other powers) to the social (as the economic historian Benjamin M. Friedman argued in his book, The Moral Consequences of Growth, earlier periods of economic stagnation, stretching back to the 19th century, have typically sharpened racism, intolerance, and other unsavory tendencies). But the most visible consequence will probably be on the stock market.

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