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Undigitized fingerprint data leads to faulty background searches

An immigrant who wants to make Florida a permanent home has a number of carefully designed steps to take in order to prove he or she is a good candidate to become a U.S. citizen. One of these is the biometrics appointment, which is when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gathers information such as fingerprints and other identification that can be used to check a person's background.

Fingerprints of immigrants should be added to a digital database that allows a quick and thorough background check, members of Congress say. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently reported that there are still many such records that have not yet been processed, so they are not easily accessible during the process. Because of this, many people who may be a security risk to the United States have been granted citizenship.

Officials do not believe that there was intentional fraud on the part of all 858 applicants who did not have fingerprint records in the digital database, although it may be the case for some. Now, each of these new citizens must be carefully investigated to ensure that they are not a threat to national security. Many may already have been ordered to leave the country prior to being granted citizenship, and the home countries of many others are known for immigration fraud.

Although it is difficult for someone to lose their U.S. citizen status, it is not impossible for the government to revoke this privilege. A person who is unfairly targeted by the DHS or another federal immigration agency may benefit from the advice of an immigration attorney.

Source: New York Times, "More Than 800 Immigrants Mistakenly Granted Citizenship," Sept. 19, 2016

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