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Concerns raised about cost, need of new immigration application processing center

ImmigrationFrom Press Release

 

Members of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committees are questioning the Obama Administration’s unilateral decision to continue leasing a Northern Virginia building that was originally intended to process applications for one of President Obama’s most controversial executive actions that has now been halted by court order.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan and General Services Administration Acting Administrator Denise Turner Roth, the senators expressed concern that the decisions regarding the establishment of a new processing center may not have undergone proper scrutiny or formal contracting requirements to ensure that it’s not only a prudent use of agency resources, but also a legal one.

The letter was signed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and senators Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, John Cornyn, David Vitter and David Perdue.   The Judiciary and Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committees have oversight responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security.

Administration officials notified committee staff that despite the court injunction which prevented them from processing additional deferred action benefits, the agency would use the space to process other immigration benefits.

The members noted that the four centers currently used for processing benefit applications were created as a direct result of Congress passing a legalization program and expanding benefits to a certain defined class.

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.