Two immigration enforcement union heads who have been vocal in their opposition to the Senate immigration bill brought their message to Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Kenneth Palinkas, president of the union representing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees, showed up to listen in and lend support as Immigration and Customs Enforcement union head Chris Crane testified about the “Gang of Eight” bill before the House Judiciary Committee.
In recent weeks the individuals and groups that comprise the nation’s immigration enforcement arm have signed onto a coalition letter chronicling the problems they have with the legislation. The National USCIS Council, signed onto the coalition letter Monday.
Crane signed the opposition letter earlier this month.
In an interview Wednesday with The Daily Caller, Palinkas and his union’s executive vice president Robert Corleto explained that the problems with the immigration system are systemic, specifically at USCIS, and will not be solved by the Senate’s attempt at reform.
Palinkas said that the agency’s 12 case-a-day quota system, which USCIS adjudications officers must meet, makes devoting extra time to cases for scrutiny all but impossible, causing officials to approve applications in order to move the process along.
“It does impact your performance rating, if you don’t complete the case it tends to be held against you,” Palinkas said, explaining that because officers cannot deny cases the same day as the interview they are incentivized to approve as many applications as they are able.
“We still can’t meet quotas, for lack of a better word, of the volume of cases that we have to put out. Now they’ll pat themselves on the back, saying, ‘Yeah that’s what we handled.’ But I can guarantee you that lots of corners were cut,” Corleto said.
Palinkas explained that the heavy caseload pressure means that immigrants who should not be granted legal status slip through.
“What could happen is you could have an aggravated felon go through the cracks,” Palinkas said, explaining, “if you aren’t given the time, you are not going to make the right decision.”
The pair added that with 99.5% of illegal aliens being approved for legal status under the Obama administration’s deferred action for childhood arrival (DACA) policies, there is a likelihood that fraudulent applications are getting through.