How Did Homeland Security Accidentally Grant Citizenship to 800 People?

At least 800 people were granted citizenship, despite coming from “special interest countries” — those that present a national security concern for the United States.

By Alain StephensSeptember 20, 2016 11:29 am

The Obama administration has deported more immigrants than any other administration, but amid growing concerns over border security many have said that the government should ratchet down even tighter on who it decides to let in the country and stay.

And yet, after an internal audit, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now admits that they granted citizenship to over 800 people by accident.

Alicia Caldwell, a reporter for the Associated Press, says it was a “snafu” between collecting digital fingerprints starting in the mid-1990s and the full implementation of digital fingerprinting in the mid- to late 2000s.

“People who would get arrested at the border would have their fingerprints taken and put on a piece of paper,” she says. “There would be two cards – one would go to the FBI and one would stay with Border Patrol. In the interim between everything going digital and those paper cards still being used, some 315-odd thousand cards didn’t get digitzed.”

The 858 cases in which people were granted citizenship were those whose fingerprints hadn’t been digitized.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How the transition from paper to digital left some records out of the database

– Where those granted citizenship came from

– What DHS did to self-identify which cases that fell through the cracks