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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

TIMES REPORTS ON USCIS SEX FOR GREEN CARDS SCANDAL

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Several of you have linked to this really outrageous story from this morning's New York Times front page. Were it only a one time incident, it would be easy to dismiss as a bad apple. But this is not the first time I've reported on a scandal like this on this blog. And it's just one type of corruption in a broad range. Most examiners at USCIS are decent people just trying to do a difficult job. But there is a subculture at the agency comprised of abusive individuals who probably were bullied themselves at one point in life and now take their revenge on the immigrants who are at their mercy. I don't know how the agency can identify this minority within the agency, but when they don't stories like these become front page scandals. One suggestion - have customer-friendly, well-publicized systems to report abusive behavior by examiners and then take those complaints seriously. Make an anonymous reporting system so people don't feel intimidated in making their complaints (obviously with safeguards to prevent people from being punished based on false reports).

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  1. Grace's Avatar
    I was shocked to read this article, and depressed to read again about this type of egregious behavior by a government employee. When you're a low level employee, it can be hard to resist taking advantage of your position - either when its offered unsolicited, or when you realize you can directly exploit your role, as this officer did. The article said that he made about $50K - that's not much money for the NYC area.

    One of the best ways to protect yourself from this type of behavior is to hire an attorney for the green card and/or naturalization application. The attorney goes with you to any USCIS interview, and having a neutral 3rd party in the room makes it much harder for a corrupt agent or officer to act in an abusive or improper manner. (Most of them are not that stupid.) The attorney can also complain to a supervisor or the district director about improper behavior or inappropriate contact between an examiner and an applicant.

    I hope that the woman in the article gets her green card - it took a great deal of courage to come forward as she did. Who knows how many other women he's done this to before?
  2. b's Avatar
    Maybe time for USCIS to audit this guys green card and citizenship application.
  3. yave begnet's Avatar
    Having an attorney won't necessarily prevent your case from being referred for a Stokes. Yes, there are bad apples like Baichu. But the real problem is a system that puts so much power in the hands of one individual, with so little recourse, and with such seemingly arbitrary guidelines that the DAO doesn't have to explain to the applicant. A DAO can refer a spousal adjustment case to a second interview without offering any explanation at all why he/she is doing it. It could be a simple factual misunderstanding, it could be straight racism, it could be that the DAO just didn't get enough sleep the night before--the applicant may never really know. How is this a fair or effective decisionmaking process?
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