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Smith and Grassley: How Will DHS Prevent Fraud and Abuse in Amnesty Program?


Location: Washington, DC

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concern about the Department's plan to grant deferred action and work permits to illegal immigrants, particularly with regard to how the President's directive will be implemented without a serious plan to combat fraud and abuse. Both Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Grassley have repeatedly asked for more information on how the Department will detect fraud and verify documents provided, but no assurances have been provided to Congress thus far.

Below are excerpts from the letter to Secretary Napolitano. To read the full letter, visit

"We are very concerned about the Department of Homeland Security's plan to grant deferred action to individuals here illegally, particularly with regard to how the President's directive will be implemented without a serious plan to combat fraud and abuse. While potentially millions of illegal immigrants will be permitted to compete with American workers for jobs, there seems to be little if any mechanism in place for vetting fraudulent applications and documentation submitted by those who seek deferred action … It's distressingly clear that the administration plans to press the replay button for the large-scale fraud from the 1986 amnesty.

"Department officials indicated to Committee staff that they would not use fraud prevention and detection measures that you consider "too expensive" or "time consuming", or that would "unduly impact" USCIS's other responsibilities. This attitude blatantly demonstrates that the Department has little regard for preventing fraud, especially since the law allows the Department to impose fees for the benefit of deferred action. The illegal immigrants themselves, rather than the American taxpayer or legal immigrants, should bear any expense associated with the program.

"For the sake of preserving the integrity of our immigration system and ensuring that the process is not riddled with fraud, we would like to understand the Department's rationale for not placing in removing proceedings illegal immigrants denied deferred action and for attaching confidentiality provisions."

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