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FBI Response to the OIG Review of the FBI's Security Check Procedures for Immigration Applications and Petitions

Washington, D.C. June 09, 2008
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

The following is the response from FBI Assistant Director John Miller to today's OIG report:

“The Inspector General of the Department of Justice has today issued a report titled, The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Security Check Procedures for Immigration Applications and Petitions. We appreciate the Inspector General’s (IG) findings regarding the successful operation of the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and the great strides made in reducing the National Name Check Program (NNCP) backlog. Included in the IG’s findings are:

  • The NNCP received more than 4 million name check requests in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 alone, and processes ‘about 86 percent of name check requests within 60 days.'
  • While processing approximately 77,000 total name check requests per week, the FBI completed nearly 97 percent of all name checks submitted in the last five years.
  • The majority of name checks processed—nearly 90 percent—were completed within 120 days, well within the USCIS requirement of completion within 180 days.
  • By March 2008, the NNCP’s employees working on name check requests had increased to 371, a nearly 30 percent increase since November 2007. This number of employees is expected to increase to 597 by the end of FY 2008.
  • The FBI has reduced the backlog of name check requests by completing more name checks than it received in FYs 2004, 2005, and 2007.
  • In FY 2007, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requested 3.2 million fingerprint identifications from IAFIS, most of which were processed by the FBI within 24 hours.

“While the IG’s report cites a backlog, this stems from an agreement between the FBI and USCIS, then the Immigration and Naturalization Service, to ‘re-run’ 2.7 million names through a more in-depth name check process following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. This unexpected deluge of immigration-related name checks overwhelmed existing resources. As a result, the NNCP was not able to address the increasing demand. Corrective actions implemented over several years have improved the NNCP’s operations, resulting in record numbers of completed name checks and a reduced backlog.

The FBI concurs with the IG’s 21 recommendations, 15 of which were underway before the report was published. We appreciate the IG’s efforts to enhance the FBI’s security check procedures, and we stand committed to further increasing the progress we have made in minimizing the name check backlog and improving the NNCP and IAFIS. We will continue to work with the Department of Justice to improve these programs in furtherance of national security and public safety.”