From Immigrants to Democrats: The Citizenship USA Program

Attempting to Naturalize as many new Americans as possible for votes is nothing new to the Democratic Party. Though it looks like the Obama Administration may conduct this goal through a blanket amnesty, the Clinton Administration tried to create more Democrats a different way, by taking  advantage of a program called Citizenship USA.

Heres a little background. In 1995 the INS decided it was overwhelmed with a backlog of Citizenship applicants and decided to form an program called Citizenship USA to speed the process up from a 3 year wait, to a 6 month wait. Meaning an applicant could become an American Citizen within 6 months of turning in paperwork. The Clinton White House sought to take advantage of this program and to turn these new American Citizens into instant Democrat Voters.

The Acting Inspector General Robert L. Ashbaugh conducted an Investigation into Citizenship USA and heres a link to his full report titled,”An Investigation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Citizenship USA Initiative

The report found that Immigrants were rushed through the Naturalization process with inadequate files, no background checks, and no finger print checks.

From the Reports Conclusions (emphasis mine):

As detailed throughout this report, naturalization processing before CUSA already suffered from systemic weaknesses. INS lacked standards for the consistent evaluation of an applicant’s “good moral character” and other qualifications for citizenship. INS had become reliant on the use of temporary files, thus preventing adjudicators from learning as much as possible about an applicant’s background, including information concerning possible grounds for disqualification. Applicant criminal history checks were poorly administered.

Adjudicators were trained and instructed to concentrate primarily on the minimal statutory criteria. In addition, their inquiries were limited by the frequent unavailability of the crucial tools of naturalization processing: applicant criminal history checks and permanent files. The procedures on which INS relied to make these tools available to adjudicators, clerical and automated processes, experienced even greater strain as production expectations increased. As a result of all these factors, naturalization processing integrity was compromised during CUSA.

We found that INS was willing to take these risks primarily because the agency had long tolerated a degree of error in its processes. As we described earlier in this report, INS managed the fingerprint check according to an analysis that balanced flaws in the system against the resources required to redress them, and thereby accepted a certain level of error. In view of the use of this approach in administering one of the most significant checks in the naturalization system—the check against the possibility of bestowing citizenship on someone with a disqualifying criminal record—it was no surprise that a similarly tolerant perspective informed INS’ remaining safeguards, particularly when the rate of processing was increased.

Thus, implicit in the idea of backlog reduction was a general acceptance of the status quo in naturalization processing. We found that it was not an ignorance of the problems so much as an acceptance of them. As Commissioner Meissner told the OIG when discussing why INS moved forward with its plans for CUSA knowing of the problems that then existed in making applicants’ permanent files available to naturalization adjudicators, “the assumption was this: . . . we have been doing it this way for years and years and years, and things need to improve. But they are not going to—you know, we are not going to create an entirely new system in a flash, and so we will do the best we can with what we have.”

Furthermore, before the implementation of CUSA those vulnerabilities had not been the subject of widespread public outcry, and thus there was no outside stimulus for INS to mend its ways. What was of immediate concern to the public and to Congress were the unconscionable delays in processing naturalization applications, and it was on those delays that INS singlemindedly focused its attention.

We’re hearing similar arguments today about a legal immigration process that takes too long, is too cumbersome and is unmanageable.

However, of greatest concern is the fact that INS has not made progress toward developing and implementing adjudicative standards, including the standards for English testing and the evaluation of good moral character. INS recognized before CUSA that such standards were missing and that their absence diminished the quality of naturalization processing during CUSA.

Obviously the program was designed to do nothing but quickly Naturalize Americans. Any flaws already in the INS process were escalated by the need to process individuals within the time frame of the program. Now lets look into the Clinton White House’s involvement and the drive for new Democrats.

From the Report’s section on White House/NPR (National Performance Review program under direct supervision of Vice President Al Gore) Involvement in the CUSA Program:

Two distinct themes emerge from the allegations raised by members of Congress with respect to the CUSA initiative. First, that the quality of naturalization adjudications was compromised during CUSA. Second, that these compromises resulted from political pressures engineered by the White House. Previous chapters in this report have addressed the first issue; in this chapter, we examine allegations concerning White House pressure on INS and its CUSA program.

As we discuss in earlier sections of this report, our investigation found that the poorly managed CUSA program was initiated by INS (without White House input) as a legitimate response to a growing backlog of naturalization applications. White House officials became involved in CUSA in early 1996— before INS had made significant inroads into its naturalization backlog—by making the program a target of aggressive “reinvention” efforts by the National Performance Review (NPR).2 During an approximately 6-week period in
March and April 1996, NPR officials visited the INS Key City Districts and attempted to shake up INS bureaucracy by suggesting changes to INS’ hiring procedures.

We found that this White House/NPR interest in CUSA added to the significant pressure that already existed on INS to meet the ambitious backlog reduction and case processing goals it had set for itself and publicized widely. INS’ single-minded focus on processing cases to meet these goals, in turn, led to a series of mistakes, shortcuts, and mismanagement that adversely affected the quality of naturalizations conducted during the CUSA program as discussed throughout this report.

As part of our investigation, we examined the reasons for the White House/NPR involvement in CUSA. We found evidence that White House officials were interested in INS’ naturalization program for a variety of reasons, including “political” reasons that related to the November 1996 election, but from the evidence available we did not find that those interests resulted in any improper actions. We describe both the evidence that we found that relates to the reasons for the White House and NPR involvement in CUSA as well as White House officials’ explanations for their actions.

Although he says he found nothing improper, I’ll let you decide. First their findings:

One of the most pointed criticisms of the CUSA program made by Members of Congress was that the White House created or influenced CUSA in order to increase the number of Democratic voters. The White House strongly denied this allegation, arguing that its involvement in CUSA was motivated by a desire to assist INS to deliver on promises it made to individuals who were entitled to better services. As part of this investigation, we identified events and communications that pertain to the allegation, and we set them forth here because of the seriousness of the charge and the interest in the question. Given our finding that the involvement of the White House had little direct negative impact on CUSA, the propriety of the motivations behind this involvement is a political question beyond the scope of the OIG’s inquiry.

To what extent, if any, did this heightened White House involvement reflect a desire to increase the Democratic turnout at the 1996 general election? Certainly the possibility that White House involvement in CUSA could be perceived as improper occurred to many people, including Commissioner Meissner, who recalled having voiced her concerns to (Rahm)Emanuel and to both Attorney General Reno and Deputy Attorney General Gorelick.

We found several pieces of evidence showing that the White House was aware of and interested in the connection between naturalization, voting, and the 1996 election. The evidence includes:

· The September 26, 1995, memorandum from Deputy Attorney General Gorelick, drafted by Gerri Ratliff, to Kevin O’Keefe at the White House. The memorandum discussed INS naturalization initiatives and included a page entitled “Talking Points Re Voter Registration” that discussed INS’ limited role in facilitating voter registration at naturalization ceremonies. The memorandum noted that due to INS’ limited resources, it would have to rely on partnerships with other organizations to expand voter registration opportunities.

· A 1-page cover letter dated September 28, 1995, from O’Keefe to Ickes forwarding Ratliff’s memorandum. The cover letter included two paragraphs on voter registration, including the statement that “the pace of naturalization will limit the number of new voters.

· Statements that INS employees in New York said Lyons made specifically referencing the November 1996 election.

· Farbrother’s March 28, 1996, e-mail to the Vice President noting that INS was not going to be able to “produce a million new citizens before election day.”

· Kamarck’s April 4, 1996, memorandum to the Vice President stating that “[o]nly by working 7 days a week and longer hours can we hope to make a significant enough dent in the backlog that it will show up when it matters.”

We also found evidence that more specifically refers to, or could be interpreted as referring to, the potential benefit to the Democratic Party of naturalizing a million new citizens in FY 1996.

· The March 13, 1996, O’Keefe memorandum to Ickes discussing that Skinny Sheahan, “our best field organizer,” was trying to figure out how to handle voter registration at a large naturalization ceremony in Chicago.

· A conversation between Farbrother and Kamarck in which, according to Farbrother, Kamarck spoke of the President’s desire to involve NPR because of his belief that the large number of people in California waiting for naturalization represented likely votes for him in the 1996 election.

· The memorandum written for Ickes by Stephen Warnath of the DPC expressing the Hispanic Caucus’ prospective view that “faster naturalization means more potential Democratic voters in the next election.

· The letters written by Daniel Solis and Father Vega to various White House officials that included comments about how enhanced naturalization efforts could increase the number of potential Democratic voters in the 1996 election.

The timeline of events within the report exposes quite alot of evidence as well, here is one excerpt:

Daniel Solis, head of United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) in Chicago,7 told the OIG that he attended a September 1994 Democratic Party fundraiser in Chicago and was seated near the President at the dinner afterwards. In the course of an approximately 10-minute conversation about naturalization, Solis said he told President Clinton that there were approximately 5.5 million potential new citizens in the United States. Solis told the OIG that the President commented that there should be an effort to register these people to vote, to which Solis responded that they had to be naturalized before they could vote. Solis said that he told the President that research showed that newly naturalized citizens tended to vote at a higher rate than other citizens and also tended to vote for incumbents. Solis said President Clinton asked him to send information about this issue to Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, who was also attending the Chicago event.

The report also greatly details Rahm Emanuel’s involvement in the program and dismay at his refusal to answer the IG’s inquiry:

Whether Emanuel’s interest was real and reflected political acumen or merely politeness is a question that his refusal to be interviewed has made more difficult to answer.

Now for some statements from outside the investigation. WorldNetDaily Reports:

A former INS official who attended meetings with Rahm Emanuel when Emanuel was a White House aide says the hard-charging Democrat relaxed rules to naturalize even criminal immigrants and secure their votes for President Clinton ahead of the 1996 presidential election.

Emanuel coordinated with Hispanic community organizers in Chicago to rubberstamp immigrants for citizenship, the INS official said in an exclusive interview with WND.

It turns out the long-time Chicago political operative was the behind-the-scenes catalyst for Citizenship USA, a project run out of then-Vice President Al Gore’s office.

Rahm was doing it under the guise of Al Gore’s Reinventing Government program,” said the official, who helped direct INS security policy. “He was definitely the point man and was past his neck in the scandal at INS.”

Emanuel, now caught up in the corruption scandal involving Democrat Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, refused to cooperate with an investigation into the citizenship project by the Justice Department Inspector General.

“He got every rule changed in the hiring of adjudicators so they could naturalize more Mexican nationals to vote for Bill Clinton, not to mention getting the rules changed to naturalize anyone,” regardless of their criminal background, said the official, who’s still employed by the federal government and requested anonymity to avoid reprisals.

They had immigration ceremonies at stadiums with DNC (Democratic National Committee) staff registering them as voters right there,” he added.

At one Chicago ceremony held inside Soldier Field, some 11,000 new citizens were sworn in.

Another former INS official, William Carroll, said Emanuel “took midnight trips to INS headquarters to meet with (Commissioner) Doris Meissner about Citizenship USA.”

He said that in March 1996 he and other INS district directors were given “marching orders” by headquarters to push through as many new citizens as possible ahead of the election, even if no criminal and national security background checks were completed.

INS deportation officer Tom Conklin said that he and other agents were pressured to rubberstamp immigrants “with two or three arrests for crimes like burglary.”

According to a November 1993 interview with Mother Jones magazine, Emanuel began pushing Clinton to be proactive on the issue of immigration right after he took office, and years ahead of the 1996 re-election campaign.

“I just wanted to be ahead of this issue and have our staff on it, defining it constantly,” Emanuel said, eyeing Texas and California, two key states in 1996 where immigration was a hot issue.

If Democrats can be this dirty on Immigration, is a blanket amnesty in order to get Democrat Votes that much of a stretch. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had a direct involvement in this travesty of justice, and I’m sure, he has no problem trying it again.

Here is Obama’s speech on Immigration Reform

“The politics of who is and who is not allowed to enter this country, and on what terms,  has always been contentious, and that remains true today. And it’s made worse by a failure of those of us in Washington to fix a broken immigration system.”

“In fact because we don’t do a very good job of tracking who comes in and out of the country as visitors large numbers avoid Immigration Law simply by overstaying their visas. The result is an estimated 11 million Undocumented Immigrants in the United States.”

“More fundamentally the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process legally.”

“For example there are those in the Immigrants Rights Community who have argued, passionately, that we should simply provide those who are illegally with legal status or, at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until, we have better laws. And often this argument is framed in moral terms, Why should we punish people who are just trying to earn a living? I recognize the sense of compassion that drives this argument but I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair.”

“The 11 million who  broke these laws should be held accountable. Now if the majority of Americans are skeptical of a blanket amnesty, they are also skeptical that it is possible to round up and deport 11 million people. They know its not possible. Such an effort would be logistically impossible and wildly expensive. Moreover, it would tear at the very fabric of this nation. Because immigrants who are here illegally are now intricately woven into that fabric.”

“Finally we have to demand responsibility from people living here illegally. They must be required to admit that they broke the law, they should be required to register, pay their taxes, pay a fine, and learn English. They must get right with the law before they can get in line and earn their citizenship.”

“We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair, reflective of our values, and works.”

Obama has no intention of deporting the illegal immigrants, and his administrations policy on ICE’s Silent raids confirms this. Instead of rounding up and deporting the illegal immigrants working  at different businesses, the illegals are instead fired by their employer and left with either welfare or crime to sustain themselves.

In July an Obama Administration memo titled “Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Reform” was discovered.

SUBJECT: Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform

This memorandum offers administrative relief options to promote family unity, foster economic growth, achieve significant process improvements and reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United Slates without authorization. It includes recommendations regarding implementation timeframes and required resources.

You already have the Obama Administration looking for ways to change regulations in order to keep Illegal Immigrants in the United States if Congress does not tackle Immigration Reform, you have ICE’s Silent Raids forcing illegal immigrants out of a job but not deportating them. And you have Rahm Emanuel as the White House Chief of Staff and his philosophy of “Never waste a crisis.” Amnesty is quite possible and so is a Democrat voter drive: is immigration another crisis that we must not waste?

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