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Report: DHS Spends $1B to Digitize, Only 1 Immigration Form Available Online

Government waste is a sad byproduct of our current government and something that needs to be addressed under future leadership. From the excessive costs of Healthcare.gov to the Department of Homeland Security’s $1 billion initiative to digitize documents, the wastefulness must be fixed.

According to the Washington Post, the DHS spent over $1 billion to digitize documents, an initiative that resulted in a single document being put online. Out of over 100 immigration documents, only a single form is available and payable online.

Fox News reports:

The report sheds light on a struggling effort that not only has frustrated immigrant applicants but raises national security concerns and could put at risk any effort to overhaul immigration policies.

The project was originally supposed to be done in 2013, for a half-billion-dollar price tag.

Now, according to the Post, it isn’t projected to be done for another four years and could cost over $3 billion.

“It’s a huge albatross around our necks,” Kenneth Palinkas, former head of the USCIS union, told the Post.

The report from the Post described a startling sequence of mismanagement in the program.

According to the report, agency officials did not finish a basic plan for the new system until three years after the initial contract was given to IBM, rendering part of the plan outdated before work began.

Only three forms were ever digitized, but two needed to be taken down after problems. The only available online form is an application for renewing or replacing a lost green card.

According to the Post, even that system has had problems and delays.

While DHS officials acknowledge these setbacks, they say the department has abandoned earlier plans and is moving toward a new system based in part on cloud computing, according to the Post.

“We took a fresh start — a fix that required an overhaul of the development process — from contracting to development methodology to technology,” a USCIS spokesman told the newspaper.

The spokesman said they’re “confident we are moving in the right direction.”

Photo credit: IntelliHub.


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