Letter: Poor immigrant screening should concern Pittsfield

Poor immigrant screening should concern Pittsfield

To the editor:

I no longer live in the Berkshires but have serious concerns regarding its safety, economic future and ability to fund and support immigrants. This week, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. government mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants who had pending deportation orders from "countries of concern" to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud. This report is based on an internal Homeland Security audit released on Monday.

Homeland Security inspectors general found that immigrants used different names or birth dates to apply for citizenship with and those discrepancies were not caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases. Inspector General John Roth's auditors said they were all from "special interest countries" — those that present a national security concern for the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that old paper-based records containing fingerprint information cannot be searched electronically. They also identified an additional 953 people who had been naturalized despite outstanding deportation orders, stating that 315,000 fingerprints are missing from our federal databases involving fugitive criminals.

The Berkshires must consider a higher level of inspection, regarding each immigrant to ensure who he/she is, their ability to assimilate in the U.S. and a method of tracking each individual for future identification.

The Berkshires was a perfect place to grow up during the 1950s, '60s and '70s. However, recent changes, including gangs, violence, and drugs, stretch local law enforcement's ability to keep control. New immigrants will further stretch law enforcement's ability to ensure your safety.

Bernard Carmell, Palm City, Fla.


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