According to press reports about a September 2011 Inspector General report, Obama administration officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are pressuring immigration service officers to approve immigrants' visa applications quickly even when fraud is suspected. According to the report, one-quarter of the 254 officers surveyed said they have been pressured to approve questionable cases, sometimes "against their will." House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the statement below.
Chairman Smith: "A recent Inspector General report that Obama administration officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have pressured officers to rush questionable immigrant visa applications undermines the integrity of our immigration system and threatens national security.
"Immigration service officers help maintain the integrity of our immigration system and ensure national security by examining immigrant visa applications for potential fraud. But according to the recent IG report, administration officials undercut the officers' mission by forcing them to give a stamp of approval to potentially fraudulent applications. These applications need thorough vetting because they often lead to U.S. citizenship.
"It's outrageous that administration officials would compromise national security for their own political agenda and gain. The President's most important job is to protect the American people but it seems this administration is more interested in ignoring immigration regulations than making sure those who come here will not cause us harm. The Immigration Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing in February on visa fraud and will investigate these alleged abuses by the administration."
The House Judiciary Committee in June approved the Secure Visas Act (H.R. 1741), a bill sponsored by Chairman Smith, to help prevent terrorists from obtaining U.S. visas and to allow U.S. officials to expedite the removal of terrorists and other aliens whose visas have been revoked. The bill was reported favorably to the House floor by a vote of 17-11.