USCIS union president fights immigration reform bill

Liz Goodwin
The Ticket
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The president of a union that represents 12,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees announced his opposition to the immigration reform bill in the Senate on Monday morning.

"The legislation will provide legal status to millions of visa overstays while failing to provide for necessary in-person interviews," union President Kenneth Palinkas said in a statement. "Legal status is also explicitly granted to millions who have committed serious immigration and criminal offenses."

The Senate version of the bill, which has not been introduced to the floor, will offer legalization to most of the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants, provided they pass a background check and pay fines.

The USCIS union's workers examine and approve citizenship and visa applications.

Palinkas said USCIS employees are pressured to "rubber-stamp" citizenship and visa applications and lack the resources to adequately investigate applicants.

Palinkas is joining the National ICE Council, the union that represents 7,600 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, in opposing the bill. That union's president, Chris Crane, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration's policy to prioritize deporting undocumented immigrants who have committed dangerous crimes.