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Question: Last year, the Department of Homeland Security came into being. I have many friends who are having lots of problems with immigration. Is the DHS helping or hurting these people?

Answer: March 1, 2004 marks the one-year anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) assumption of U.S. immigration functions. There are several problems that exist within the agency. 1) Inadequate Coordination: Because enforcement and adjudications are two sides of the same coin it would be to the benefit of all if there were close coordination from DHS and between the DHS and other federal agencies including the State Department, Department of Justice, FBI, and CIA. However, this has yet to be realized.

Next, inadequate funding long has characterized adjudications. Especially in light of this historical underfunding, it is imperative that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) be accorded adequate resources to do its job. Direct congressional appropriations are necessary in order to ensure that the USCIS lets the appropriate people into the country and bars those who mean to do us harm, and adequately delivers services.

Question: I also have many friends over the last year who have received answers to their applications. For one reason or another, it always boils down to a “no”.

Answer: This is a definite problem. The DHS must change the culture of “No”. There have been widespread reports of unfair, arbitrary and inconsistent adjudications. Reinforcing this view are the increased numbers of unnecessary requests for additional information that contribute to the dramatic slowdown in the processing of petitions and applications. While our immigration system has long been characterized by backlogs, delays, and inadequate funding, current backlogs and delays have reached historical levels. Many organizations and individuals are reporting severe delays in processing that have negatively impacted American business and family members. USCIS needs to efficiently and fairly adjudicate petitions and applications.

Question: I have read a report that the number of B2 Visitor Visas has been denied and cut drastically over the last couple of years. Is this really what DHS wants?

Answer: The Importance of Immigration at our Ports of Entry must be recognized. Our national and economic security depends on the efficient flow of people and goods at these ports. Unfortunately, current reports suggests that the Custom and Border Protection Bureau (CBP) is giving inadequate attention to immigration and is initiating polices that do not reflect the intricacy of the subject and its importance to our country.

Question: My family has appointments at the U.S. Consulate, but there have been numerous delays. Is this also a problem?

Answer: With the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to establish and administer rules governing the granting of visas, it is vitally important that visas be granted to the people who come to build America and denied to those who mean to do us harm. We must balance our national security and economic security needs by recognizing that the U.S. is tied to the rest of the world economically, socially, and politically. However, severe delays at the consulates continue to hamper the visa issuance process, with serious consequences for businesses, families, schools and others in the United States. The gridlock that has paralyzed the visa issuance process in the past two years must be resolved – the agencies charged with clearing security checks must be motivated to give these operations the priority that they deserve.
Thus, there are a great many items that must be worked upon. It is a constant balancing of safety verses allowing immigrants into the U.S. Hopefully, in the near future, there will be a comprehensive policy to deny visas to persons who would be a danger to our society, but to allow those into the U.S. for legitimate means.

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Is Immigration suffering or being helped by DHS?