The Efficacy of "Government Vetting"

We've heard quite a bit from the Obama administration (when it can divert its time and attention from childish taunts and trash talk aimed at U.S. citizens who oppose its policies) about how rigorously they plan to vet migrants and refugees fleeing Syria and other war torn hellholes That Enlightened-and-Uber-Tolerant Paradise Across the Pond. But casual perusal of the daily news offers few grounds to support the requested leap of faith:
...the government has spent more than $1 billion trying to replace its antiquated approach to managing immigration with a system of digitized records, online applications and a full suite of nearly 100 electronic forms. A decade in, all that officials have to show for the effort is a single form that’s now available for online applications and a single type of fee that immigrants pay electronically. The 94 other forms can be filed only with paper. This project, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was originally supposed to cost a half-billion dollars and be finished in 2013. Instead, it’s now projected to reach up to $3.1 billion and be done nearly four years from now, putting in jeopardy efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, handle immigrants already seeking citizenship and detect national security threats, according to documents and interviews with former and current federal officials.
And then there's this:
Health and Human Services delivered over at least six migrant children from Guatemala into the hands of human traffickers without visiting the homes where they would live or verifying any family connection to them, a Senate committee has found. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a leading crusader fighting to crack down on the trafficking of children in the United States, said the Ohio case is just one of many examples of HHS's systemic lapses in the way it handles the placement of migrant children out of U.S. detention centers for illegal immigrants. The findings derived from a case in Marion, Ohio in which six defendants allegedly lured child victims to the United States with the promise of schooling and a better life and instead enslaved them on an egg farm and forced them to work 12 hours a day in squalid conditions with no pay. A report by the committee found other disturbing examples of HHS delivering minors into the hands of sex traffickers or sexual predators.
The report found widespread evidence of "lax verification standards" and systematic defects, concluding that despite repeated indicators that something fishy was going on with the Marion placements, [wait for it...] "HHS failed to connect any of the dots." None of this is confidence inspiring. If the federal government lacks the ability to vet people who are already here in the U.S. before placing innocent children in their power, how on earth are they going to vet migrants from other countries effectively?


Grim said...

IBM wants you to think they can do it, assuming we pay them enough. Although they make it sound really easy: from the article, all we'd really have to do is separate out the 'young, suspiciously healthy males' from everyone else.

You're right, though. The government has taken on so much that it isn't anywhere near capable of performing the duties it already has.

Anonymous said...

I will repeat here a story I've told elsewhere ...

When -- late 1990's -- we were processing immigration paperwork and we were instructed by the state-approved agent to download and print particular US Government federal forms, by form number, from the appropriate federal website. Which we did - printed, then filled in by hand. (Adobe not being suitable at the time for electronic form-filling). So we gather a huge stack of paperwork from various jurisdictions and make the appointment for several weeks out and wait for, then show up at, the appointment with the bureaucrat in charge of our "case".

"You don't have the right form".

"Which one -- oh, look, there it is."

"That's not the right form."

"That's from your own website, form XYZ. The date is the latest version, right?"

"That's the form NUMBER, but that's not the right form."

"Uhm, what's the missing information?"

"I don't care about what's on the form, I can't process your case without the RIGHT form."

"What is the right form?"

"Form XYZ; you can mail to Washington to get a blank."

"We HAVE Form XYZ. It's right THERE. See?"

"That's not the right form."

"Uhm, what is the problem, exactly?"

"It's not the right form. Form XYZ is blue."

"In blue ink? Why isn't black ink okay?"

"Not the ink, the form. The whole form. The right form is blue. This isn't the right -- the real -- form."

"You mean the paper is supposed to be blue?"

"It HAS to be blue. You see --" She picks up a stack of somebody else's applications (which should be secured, but isn't) " --I have to use the blue form to fill out the three-part form, which I break down and staple my yellow copy to your original blue form. See? Like this? If I don't have the blue form I can't make the three copies and then I can't attach the yellow copy to the blue form."

"You can't copy the information off a white form?"

"I could, but it wouldn't be right. They won't take the application unless they see your blue form attached to my yellow copy..."

Cassandra said...


Now combine that mentality with the frequent mantra of our President: "We can't wait for...[Congress to act/the system to work/the laws to be enforced correctly].



Tom said...

Hey, is that Cass with posting privileges? Sweet!

As to the topic at hand, we've known a lot of government is and has been inept forever. Whacha gonna do?

Cassandra said...

Grim was kind enough to invite me again - I think I went around and deleted all my Blogger accounts when I quit writing at VC :)

As to the topic at hand, we've known a lot of government is and has been inept forever.

Yep. But "inept, and in a big hurry" is really scary.

MikeD said...

Silly lady, I for one am glad you're writing again!

Sarah Palin's Uterus said...


I miss it often, and Grim was kind to give me a platform, from which to bloviate from time to time.

Cass said...

Egad - I need to sign out and sign in again! Sorry about that.

All these voices in my head....

DLSly said...

I knew you couldn't stay away. I love the smell of being right in the morning.
Hell, I love the smell of being right all damn day.

Cass said...

I love the smell of being right in the morning. Hell, I love the smell of being right all damn day. Heh 😈

Well, I had to do *something* to smoke you out :p

Cass said...

heh... I made your emoticon slant-y. I wondered if that would work.

Grim said...

Kindness had nothing to do with it. I missed your writing, too.

Texan99 said...

Everyone did.

By the way, I've just had a counter-intuitive experience. I have about as much confidence in HMOs as I have in government, but we're stuck with an HMO this year, as there's nothing else left in the sanctioned individual market in my country. But my HMO . . . wait for it . . . properly processed an emergency application for cataract surgery on short notice from an out-of-network eye surgeon. It's actually going to be covered. I'm in awe.

DLSly said...

"heh... I made your emoticon slant-y"

That would be appropriate for me, as everyone well knows.

Ymar Sakar said...

Years before the immigration thing came up politically, I had heard that Waco Texas' CPS were selling children to child molestors. So this kind of thing doesn't really surprise me. The government's already been doing stuff like this under the hood, for quite some time.