U.S. immigration agency girds for workload spike

October 2, 2009

The U.S. government agency in charge of processing naturalization and residency applications is preparing for a surge in its workload if President Barack Obama pushes ahead with federal immigration reform next year granting millions of undocumented workers legal status.

A spokesman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said the agency is gearing up to handle the huge increase in applications expected if immigration refoUSA/rm is passed by the U.S. Congress.

“This agency has been preparing for the advent of any kind of a comprehensive immigration reform, and if that means a surge of applications and operations, we have been working toward that,” USCIS spokesman Bill Wright told Reuters.

 Immigration — particularly what to do with the almost 12 million illegal immigrants who live and work in the shadows — is a divisive issue in the United States.

 Obama supports a comprehensive overhaul of laws to grant undocumented immigrants in good standing the chance to pay a fine and become citizens, as well as cracking down on illegal employers and tightening security on the porous Mexico border. But he faces fierce opposition from minority Republicans in Congress.

His administration, which is pushing a flagship overhaul of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system, has indicated that it means to tackle immigration reform next year. This week, The New York Times carried an interview with USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas.

He said Obama told immigration officials that a legalization program would be part of legislation the White House would propose. Mayorkas said the agency was trying to move quickly to receive all postal applications through secure reception points known as lockboxes — a system that is more efficient than receiving them through local offices.

Wright told Reuters the agency had learned lessons from handling a surge in applications for citizenship last year, by applicants seeking to beat an USA/increase in charges, and to vote in the presidential election in November. He said the agency processes between 6 million and 7 million petitions for immigration benefits each year, including requests for naturalization, work permits and permanent legal residency documents dubbed “green cards.”

The number of undocumented immigrants who would apply for the program is unknown. One think tank that opposes comprehensive reform said screening a vast number of applicants in the event of a mass legalization of undocumented migrants would present a challenge to the agency.

“One of the biggest undiscussed issues that looms over … amnesty is administrative capacity,” said Steven Camarota, research director of the pro-enforcement Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. “We give out a million green cards a year, and the system is overwhelmed by that work load. How can it process ten or 12 million?” 

Photo credits: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (A man waves a Mexican flag during a May Day immigration and labor march and rally in downtown Los Angeles, May 1, 2008) REUTERS/Brian Snyder (Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz and his wife Tiffany recite the Pledge of Allegiance after Ortiz took the U.S. oath of citizenship in Boston on June 11, 2008)

16 comments

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If unemployment is as even Obama suggested over 10% next year,any suggestion that he gets involved with another highly controversial bill to legalize millions of illegals will not fly with his party.Self preservation will be paramount on the mind of his parties members of congress.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Why not stop printing money. Leave the illegals alone who enjoy working; even if the wage is less then the law allows. Majority and citizens wont work for those wages. Stop off-shoreing jobs. Not to mention put someone with a bit more moral value and common sense in govt. Being led around by 4-8 year dictators has grown stale.
We as a people need to come togeather and realize. The govt uses us as its bread and butter. Without us THEY ARE NOTHING.
How can the govt be the largest investor in anything but its own interest, when it is trillions in debt?
Wake up. You are the media and a chosen voice of the people. Being bought and paid for by a bounced Check. Illegals you say? True americans I say. They come in search of a dream. They find it at $.50-$2.45 an hour. Whereas our citizens and nationals Can not due to excessive money laundering by the govt.

Posted by Not Relevant | Report as abusive

Every social problem anywhere has it’s basis in overpopulation and resounces being in short supply.
Here’s an idea, let’s do what makes least sense for the sake of money in the pockets of that famous top 2%. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me why globalization is good for working American men and women. That supposed free trade has always worked. In the 60s, volkswagen beetles were pretty popular because American car makers were shoving gas hungry cars down our throats. Therefore, VW gained a foothold. Now there’s a free market! If you’re selling what someone wants, it will sell. If you’re reducing options, then you’re just screwing people.

Posted by Unemployed | Report as abusive

Think about when our nation started its decline in economic abyss and is still in free fall?? its when the Republicans killed immigration reform in 2007.

THE UNDOCUMENTED PAY TAXES THE SAME AS YOU?
THEY PAY INCOME TAX , SOCIAL SECURITY, STATE TAXES WHICH ARE HELD BY THEIR EMPLOYERS EVEN IF THEY USE FABRICATED SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS. THEY PAY INCOME TAX BY GETTING A ITN NUMBER THAT IS GIVEN TO THEM BY THE IRS. THEY PAY CITY TAXES BY PAYING RENT AND THEIR LANDLORD PAYS THE CITY TAXES, THEY PAY TAXES ON FOOD, CLOTHING, GAS, APPLIANCES, DRINK, CIGARETTES,

SHOW ME ONE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT THAT BUYS ANYTHING AND DOES NOT PAY TAX? ONLY ONE. WHEN THEY GO TO PURCHASE THEY DON’T SHOW A UNDOCUMENTED ID CARD AND NOT PAY THE SALES TAX ? IF WE SHIP OUT 20 MILLION PEOPLE THEY WILL HURT THE ECONOMY EVEN MORE.

Posted by Truth | Report as abusive

Illegal immigrants are criminals. If amnesty is given to them, then give amnesty to ALL non-violent offenders. Clear their record so they can have another chance.

Posted by jojo farmer | Report as abusive

Hey truth….. Try 1913. Been falling every since.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

If amnesty is given to 12 million illegal immigrants it will be the end of the United States of America.

Posted by john mack | Report as abusive

This is exactly what I’ve told you about how he can currently say that his healtcare reform bill won’t grant coverage to illegals, which is true today. Next year, all of his illegals will be legal, making yet another mistruth come to light. He thinks he’s fooling everyone aganin like he did with the Olympics. Not.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Legalizing 12 Million will bring in 24 to 30 Million more illegals from Mexico & South America…and everywhere possible in the next few years…There are hundreds of well qualified people in the Country who deserve Green Card…This country is aiming to become a country of 12 million more criminals.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Hold on, Listen… no matter how hard we work, whatever our situation will be…govt will do what they need todo to put money in their pocket…if at that time of reform if mkt is good they dont care about illegal or legal citizens…!!! (AS Bush did) If mkt will drop and economy is struggling then they come up with huge fine if any Illegal wants to become legal. So where are you ???
What you can do is : Pray and Pay (Taxes) !!! to us government to run USA !!!

Posted by Nilesh | Report as abusive

So far,only one balanced comment on the issue.Thanks Not Relevant.Nation of haters.

Posted by Less Relevant | Report as abusive

Enough of the racist comments.. No wonder the world is the way it is.. Not all immigrants are criminals nor are all immigrants from Mexico.. Do your homework.

Posted by Chrystal | Report as abusive

the inmigrant buildt United State in the 1700 – 1800 and 1900.
now is different, people think the inmigrant are criminal, but is not true,

I am sick and tired of paying for ILLEGALS! My healthcare cost have tripled…my auto insurance has tripled…someone pays for every illegal that wrecks a car they are not carrying insurance on…someone pays for their medical care when they walk in off of the street and never have to pay a dime to get the same medical care it cost me thousands to get…and so what to the idiot that says they pay taxes same as me…I have worked since I was fourteen years old (that’s 35 years) and I have never received one thing free from the government…they walk across the border and get everything free…I doubt what they have paid in taxes covers a tenth of what they receive free…and most of them send the majority of what they make in the good ole USA back home, they don’t spend it here helping our economy…SEND THEM HOME!!!!! Maybe then it will be safe for my teenagers to work night jobs like I did when I was a kid…

Posted by Devon | Report as abusive

We saw a lot of American under bridge because they not have job and home and a lot of Illegal people with nice home, car and restaurant. So not ENVY do better, just work hard and Dreams are possible on this nice Land (USA) is a DREAM of IMMIGRATION.

I wanna write 10 top News to Everybody:

1) 11 million people ( criminal`s people, 70% black ) in Jail, bigest population in world.

2) 11 million people ilLEGALY or more. It is like State population.

3) This Country is captalism place, not resume on just 2 points, Corrupcion, drugs, unTax Payer, Money washers…etc …etc.

4) About what they should have to do with 11 million people, is very simple. They across the Bridge ilLEGALLY (too dirty to see), so now, we see a lot of dirty on the graund, Who sweep it, Who did it build(across`s bridge).

5) the last election on UNITED STATE OF AMERICA…Obamas`s President said ” I support to take off shutdown all ilLEGALY people….” and the citezens People Vote YEA….YEA….YEA MIlllions vote yea OBAMA, Then Unvote is not prediction, We heave the real point on the line……Democracy and the majoritary guys must have to bring it done ASAP (111 HOUSE & SENaTE)

6) If you don`t Know I wanna introduce you that, here is America, LAW PLACE (this a words NOT one fact), but this Nice land is very new, only 500years old, a lot of Laws heave to do and review.

7) one more point on this line, When this Country had a few ilLegals People, the Federal Governament never had seem how much that south border is DANGER ( drugs dealer place ,murder place, unlaw place, etc.) but ALWAYS there went DANGER. So now a lot of pleople said not deal with Broken LAW, not deal with that population inside the jail ( 11 MILLION PEOPLE 70% BLACK), not deal with south border ( MEXICO), speculation, more speculation. The point on the line is LAW+LAW+LAW, year by year, we had seem enought. Enforcement, majoritary people will have a lot of job too do, Like Jesus Christ said to majoritary people on that time ago, ” I don`t came here to change de law, but enforcement “. Human Enforcement that`s a point to U.S.A. No speculation.

8) ” Language (english) is Challenge not choise ” A lot of people love enjoy the OLD LAW and they can`t enjoy the New One,….hey you, no more afraid speculation and you have to enjoy your life with your family, if you don`t have, build one…., not ENVY, leave those question to majoritary people ilLEGAL FAMILY PEOPLE, They (111 congress U.S.A ) get those pay check to do these job done. Wrong or right English We can say the true.
9) POLICY OF RECIPROCITY or POLITICAL of RECIPROCITY ( INTENATIONAL LAWS), a lot of against people of ilLEGAL FAMILYS don`t Know about it, if U.S.A throw out ilLEGAL FAMILy, They have to act measured way.

OK, THANKS, APPRECIATE ….

Posted by joseph | Report as abusive

I am a nationalized American ,i had skills that were needed so i came here legally.Unfortunately many of these illegals have only entry levels skills and although they are willing to work they have little chance of being sponsored.The biggest none event is the politicians suggesting that they should go home and apply to come here legally,it would be none starter.One statistic that is not mentioned is that these people are not on their own in most cases they have wives and children,mothers and fathers and occasionally grandparents.In California this ethnic group are the biggest receivers of social security benefits by far,because of their many dependents.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

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