Sometimes the administration uses tactics like Carthage's charging war elephants (DACA and the proposed executive amnesty) and sometimes it deploys tiny, almost invisible attacks, but the movements are always in the same direction — to expand and ease immigration, legal and illegal, permanent and temporary.
CIS regularly describes the large-scale efforts to expand migration, and to legalize millions of illegal aliens by fiat. These big programs, however, are in sync with much smaller efforts, two of which I noticed lately.
The Green Card. This document should offer as many protections against misuse as possible, but DHS's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has just announced that in many cases it does not need the carrier's signature. If the person is an infant or lacks the physical ability to sign anything, that's totally appropriate. But USCIS has just taken a backward step, as it declares in this bulletin:
Since February 2015 we have been waiving the signature requirement for people entering the U.S. for the first time as lawful permanent residents after obtaining an immigrant visa abroad from a U.S. Embassy or consulate.
There is no explanation offered regarding the missing signature, but the new rule must make it easier, less expensive, or both to manufacture the green cards.
It is easy to outline scenarios in which the lack of a signature compromises security. For example, a carrier of the document is stopped at one of those Border Patrol highway stations just north of the Mexican border. The agent, suspecting something, as a preliminary, non-electronic maneuver could ask the alien to sign his or her name. If the alien cannot do so, because of illiteracy, or signs it in a different way, that could lead to further questions.
Fee Waiver and the SSN. In the case above, the administration has dropped an earlier, more secure requirement. It has done the same thing with the I-912, the application for a fee waiver. (A list of the forms for which fees may be waived is here.)
I believe that in some cases USCIS fees should be waived, but the exploding amount of money lost to the government by increasingly widespread use of these waivers is, or should be, a major problem. As I reported last month, DHS lost about $200 million in 2012 in this way and the figure is probably much higher now, but that's a statistic that DHS suppresses.
Recently, I found that until 2012 aliens filing the fee-waiver form had to record their Social Security number, but that the current I-912 has dropped this feature.
That's absurd. It removes what should be an easy adjudication tool — a call from a USCIS staffer to someone at IRS to check someone's income. If an alien (or a citizen) wants, in effect, money from the federal government, why shouldn't he or she waive any objections to such a contact? Under a lot of circumstances neither IRS nor the Social Security system is much help to people enforcing the immigration law — but those bad practices should not extend to attempts to prevent robberies of the Treasury.
In both cases the lost line on a federal document should be restored.