The Homeland Security Department is set to grant permanent residency to tens of thousands of immigrants before the FBI can complete a required background check.
Eligible immigrants are those whose fingerprint checks reveal no criminal convictions or arrests, but whose names have not yet cleared the FBI’s criminal or intelligence files after six months of waiting, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Those who do not clear the name check will have their legal status revoked and be deported.
“The decision demonstrates how federal agencies are struggling to keep up with surging immigration applications while applying stringent post-9/11 background checks,” the Star-Telegram reported.
About 150,000 applicants are waiting to have their names cleared by the FBI. The backlog of background checks for permanent residency and naturalization was exacerbated after 9/11 when immigration officials resubmitted 2.7 million names to the FBI.
The move to grant permanent residency to the thousands of immigrants is “a decision driven by the bureaucratic imperative to move the line along rather than addressing national security concerns,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
“It defies the imagination that you can require a security check only to decide that you’re going to ignore it.”
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