For the past two weeks more than 700,000 US visas have not been issued by the country’s immigration department as the result of a computer hardware malfunction, which has still not been rectified. Since June 7th the visa and passport system in the US has been crippled by a biometric hardware error, preventing the processing and storing of photographs and fingerprints taken during security checks.
Around 50,000 applications are received on a daily basis and the malfunction has resulted in more than 100 computer experts from the public and private sector working around the clock in a desperate bid to fix the problem, according to John Kirby, spokesman for the US State Department.
These visas will not be issued by the State Department until at least the end of this month, resulting in many visas being rescheduled by embassies and consulates around the world. The glitch in the visa system has caused 350 immigrant Mexican workers to be trapped on the border and unable to enter the United States to work in temporary summer crop harvesting jobs. The State Department has since announced that just under 1,250 visas have been issued in Mexico to help the workers and American farms, with a further 3,000 visas issued across the world for humanitarian and other urgent forms of travel.
“The Bureau of Consular Affairs is in the process of resolving technical problems with our visa systems,” an announcement reads. “Though some progress has been made, biometric data processing has not been fully restored.”