Sunday, February 10, 2019
Last week, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Julie Kirchner, the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, requesting documents relating to reports that the office is failing to carry out its statutory duties to help people applying for legal immigration programs and to assist the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to improve those programs.
“[O]ver the past several months, my office has received reports that you may be failing to effectively carry out these functions,” Cummings wrote. “These concerns are particularly troubling in light of your past work as Executive Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which asserts that its mission is to ‘reduce overall immigration,’ including by ‘reducing legal immigration.’”
Cummings’ letter describes the following concerns with the Ombudsman’s office, including that the office:
- Faces backlogs in assisting individuals with casework;
- Is failing to meet its own deadlines for responding to requests for assistance;
- Has significantly slowed its advisory work, posting no new recommendations on its website for more than two years;
- Has not addressed systemic concerns raised by employees and outside stakeholders who rely on the office to serve as an independent avenue of recourse when problems arise; and
- Has experienced high staff turnover as a result of these challenges.
Cummings noted, “These reports raise significant questions about whether you have demonstrated a sufficient commitment to the statutory mission of the Ombudsman.”
Click here to read the letter.