A flawed electronic system for processing naturalization applications, which sidestepped FBI background checks, has prompted an “urgent” warning from the Department of Homeland Security inspector general, who says the system should be sidelined until its problems are addressed.

Those problems surfaced after the electronic immigration system known as ELIS was deployed last April. It failed to make “core” background checks, canceled applicants’ appointments and ruined workflow, according to The Washington Times. As many as 175 applications for citizenship allegedly went through without background checks, prompting IG John Roth’s warning.

“Without sufficient vetting, immigrants could potentially be granted U.S. citizenship although they are ineligible or pose national security threats,” Mr. Roth says.

His concern is understandable, given controversies that have dogged ELIS since its rollout. Among them, ELIS reportedly issued 200,000 green cards in error. And although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped using the system in August, the agency rushed to get ELIS back up and running in January, prompting Roth’s warning.

Rather than wait to issue a formal report, the IG’s office took “the extraordinary step of elevating this urgent issue” to CIS leadership early. Here’s to a refreshing new mindset on U.S. immigration that will address potential security problems before they evolve into national nightmares.


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