Freedom Folks

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

When Is National Security A Game?

Source: dailybulletin

The hardest working immigration reporter in the biz files another barnstormer of an article detailing how President Bush is turning national security and citizenship into a rigged carny game.  I seem to recall the last huckster to pull something like this was a fella named Bill.  Just so I make sure my recollector be workin', didn't we hate Bill for this kind of thing?
Immigration agency perks putting security at risk?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service employees were offered financial incentives to push immigration applications through the system quickly and eliminate a backlog of nearly 4 million such applications in time to meet a presidential deadline, the Daily Bulletin has learned.
As you read the next bit I want you to recall how the president assured us he would seal the border before offering his massive, nation killing amnesty, just keep that at the front of your mind and savor the big government absurdities...
A USCIS employee said Sunday that the rush to meet the October deadline, and earn bonus pay, led to mistakes and oversights in processing immigration applications.

"When they started giving incentives, people started cutting corners," said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I've worked with adjudicators who have to complete a number of applications per hour to get an award. But when those cases landed on my desk, they were all wrong."

"They told us not to check for aliases because it slows down production," said another adjudicator, from USCIS' central region. "Other employees just wanted to process applications as fast as possible to get the incentives. ... The backlog reduction awards made people careless because they had to move through so many applications per month."

"We don't sell clothing. We grant benefits that could lead to somebody getting citizenship," said an adjudicator from Texas. "Offering bonuses and incentives shouldn't play a role when it comes to national security."
Why was it so critical to meet these "deadlines?"
Royce said USCIS still has an enormous backlog, and that the agency is doing whatever it takes to show a reduction to lend credence to a Senate proposal that offers a guest-worker program and a path to amnesty. President Bush, who favors the Senate proposal over a much harsher House bill, is hoping for an immigration compromise before the end of the year.
And of course, what would a "corrupt government story be without a little taste-o-da-lies?
During a press conference in March, Gonzalez was questioned by reporters about allegations and internal documents that Maxwell had brought to the attention of Congress. One such allegation was that offices and service centers were holding competitions, offering incentives for rapid elimination of the backlog, "including cash bonuses, time off, movie tickets, and gift certificates, to employees and/or teams of employees with the fastest processing times."

In an audiotape of the press conference obtained by the Daily Bulletin, Gonzalez dismissed the allegations and said he did not offer incentives for faster processing.

"No, that's not how I do business," he said. "I want to get the job done. I want to get the job done well."
Yet dogged cub reporter, Sara Carter uncovered this...
In an Aug. 30 USCIS memo obtained by the newspaper, Michael Aytes, associate director for USCIS Domestic Operations, advised all service center directors, regional directors, district directors and Director Robert Cowan of the National Benefits Center that employees who have worked with USCIS since at least May 30 would be given an individual $500 bonus promised in December 2005 as a reward for backlog reduction.

The memo also directs each office to organize a "celebration of its production accomplishments," for which up to $15 per employee will be provided, though "no individual center or office may spend more than $7,500 for this informal award event."
And a spokesweasel uttered this...

Bentley also defended the bonuses and parties, though he favored another definition of the events.
"I wouldn't call (them) parties," he said. "It's a celebration of something that reflects on the extraordinary work our employees have done. We are commemorating their work to eliminate the backlog. It's a job well done and something we are extremely proud of -- without compromising national security.

"There are monies set aside for awards," Bentley continued. "It's a proven management tool. It's just like receiving a bonus from any line of work. You reward outstanding work so that your employees continue the great effort."
The great effort? To what, undermine this country? To hand away American citizenship as though it were a Cracker Jack prize?

Much more good stuff here.

H/T beyond borders blog

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