Over 800 immigrants given US citizenship – by mistake

US citizenship has been mistakenly granted to at least 858 immigrants by the US government. The immigrants are from nations with high immigration fraud rates or national security concerns who previously had pending deportation orders on them. This is according to an internal Homeland Security audit, released on Monday.

The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security discovered that the immigrants made use of different birthdates or names to put in applications with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Because their fingerprints were not on file with government databases, the discrepancies were not discovered. In an email statement, DHS says that some of the immigrants may have qualified for citizenship and that an absence of digital fingerprint records is not necessarily proof of fraud.

Neither the immigrants nor the ‘special interest’ nations they are identified as coming from were named in the report. The Department of Homeland Security says that the report reflects an age-old problem for immigration officials. Old, paper-based records featured information on fingerprints that is not available for electronic searches, although those files are now being uploaded. Every file flagged as a possible case of fraud will be reviewed.

According to Roth’s report, there are as many as 315,000 fingerprints of immigrants, who are either criminal fugitives or have been served with final deportation orders, absent from federal databases. 148,000 of those files have not been reviewed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to add their fingerprints to digital records.