Inspector General: 19,000 Green Cards Incorrectly Issued over the Last 3 Years

Washington, D.C.—According to the finds of Office of Inspector General of Department of Homeland Security, USCIS continues to struggle to ensure proper Green Card issuance.  Over the past 3 years, USCIS produced at least 19,000 cards that included incorrect information or were issued in duplicate. Most card issuance errors were due to design and functionality problems in ELIS, which is being implemented to automate benefits processing. USCIS’ efforts to address the errors have been inadequate. Although USCIS conducted a number of efforts to recover the inappropriately issued cards, these efforts also were not fully successful and lacked consistency and a sense of urgency.

19,000 green cards were incorrectly issued over the last 3 years (credit: USCIS)
19,000 green cards were incorrectly issued over the last 3 years (credit: USCIS)

Over the last 3 years, USCIS received over 200,000 reports from approved applicants about missing cards. The number of cards sent to wrong addresses has incrementally increased since 2013 due in part to complex processes for updating addresses, ELIS limitations, and factors beyond the agency’s control.

Improperly issued Green Cards pose significant risks and burdens for the agency. Errors can result in approved applicants being unable to obtain benefits, maintain employment, or prove lawful immigration status. In the wrong hands, Green Cards may enable terrorists, criminals, and illegal aliens to remain in the United States and access immigrant benefits. Responding to card issuance errors has also resulted in additional workload and corresponding costs, as USCIS spent just under $1.5 million to address card related customer inquiries in fiscal year 2015 alone.

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