(Washington Times) – Homeland Security officials wasted little time in ramping up for President Obama’s amnesty, posting 1,000 job openings the day after his announcement and announcing it already has space for hundreds of employees at a new space in Arlington, Virginia — an indication that it had laid its plans well before Mr. Obama said.
And even though Mr. Obama said his policy is temporary, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is hiring the employees for permanent positions, at salaries of up to $157,000 a year, according to the job postings listed on the official federal jobs website.
“USCIS is taking steps to open a new operational center in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, to accommodate about 1,000 full-time, permanent federal and contract employees in a variety of positions and grade levels,” the agency said in an internal email to employees on Monday. “The initial workload will include cases filed as a result of the executive actions on immigration announced on Nov. 20, 2014.”
A number of the job openings were posted the day after that Nov. 20 announcement and those postings have already expired, suggesting the agency has already filled some of the slots.
Homeland Security didn’t return a message seeking comment on its hiring binge.
But Ken Palinkas, head of the labor union that represents USCIS employees, said he couldn’t see any way that the agency could hire enough good people in time to process the millions of applications that are expected.
“I can’t see how they could,” he told The Washington Times. “I think what they’re leaning towards is just getting the paperwork done regardless of who does it. You have to vet these people.”
The employees will need to be undergo checks, and some will require security clearances, which is an even longer process.
Mr. Palinkas said the large scale of the hiring and the new office space suggests to him that the White House had its plans in place for some time ahead of Mr. Obama’s announcement last month.
“It’s so orchestrated it’s pathetic,” he said.
Louis D. Crocetti Jr., who used to run USCIS’s fraud unit until he retired in 2011, said for the agency to do it properly, it would take about a year to get staffed up for a major amnesty — or far longer than the time frame the Obama administration has talked about.
“I don’t see how they could possibly recruit, hire, screen, go through all the national security background checks and train everyone within six months,” said Mr. Crocetti, who is now principal at the Immigration Integrity group. “That would be a very, very steep challenge, one that could only result in consequences of poorly trained staff.”
Mr. Crocetti said fraud will be a major problem for the new amnesty — though just how big is anyone’s guess, because the administration has turned a blind eye to those warnings, he said.
He said the administration had a chance to test out its policies with the 2012 deportation amnesty Mr. Obama announced for so-called Dreamers, which more than 600,000 have been granted.
That program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has an approval rate of more than 95 percent — an astronomically high percentage for an immigration benefit, according to analysts.