U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the paper-pushing agency that processes things such as naturalization forms, is swamped, with a backlog that preceded the Trump administration and now has only gotten worse. So naturally, a top USCIS official is stepping up ... to ask USCIS employees to volunteer their time to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement block asylum-seekers at the border.
“The email to staffers, sent Wednesday by USCIS deputy Mark Koumans and obtained by BuzzFeed News, asked employees to volunteer for administrative work in ICE field offices across the country, including processing files that are part of a program forcing immigrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico as their cases are adjudicated, and supporting public document requests.”
Under the inhumane “Remain in Mexico” policy, the Trump administration has forced thousands of asylum-seekers and their families from the country to wait out their cases, as part of its effort to stomp on the right to asylum. This is terrible policy that’s being challenged in court, and apparently now USCIS wants staffers to ignore their years-old backlog for it. There’s a reason: Under Trump, the agency has become truly radicalized.
In fact, dubiously appointed USCIS head Ken Cuccinelli has been all over the news recently talking up ICE raids, something that has nothing to do with his job, and his subordinates see it. “One USCIS officer ... told BuzzFeed News that Cuccinelli appeared focused on helping ICE with its law enforcement work, rather than adjudicating immigration benefits,” saying, “I am sure [ICE] needs people to help process paperwork and keep track of people. Of course, if they stopped detaining them, separating families, and sending people back to Mexico, you wouldn’t need help.”
Earlier this week, an asylum officer said she would refuse to carry out the Trump administration’s attempted rule change essentially blocking the right to apply for asylum in the U.S. for many Central Americans and others, telling BuzzFeed News that the Asylum Ban 2.0 is “facially illegal”—and she says she’s not alone in her thinking. Other asylum officers at USCIS “think it's racist and illegal.”