USCIS says it cut name check backlog

The U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reduced by two thirds a backlog in longstanding pending applicant database name checks since May, the agency’s ombudsman said today.

As of Aug. 12, there were about 61,000 name checks pending for more than six months, Ombudsman Michael Dougherty said in a news release. That is down from about 185,000 long-pending name checks listed May 6.

The immigration agency regularly submits applicants’ names to FBI's National Name Check Program. Under that program, the names are electronically checked against FBI’s Universal Index to indicate whether the person is the subject of an FBI record. If so, then further investigation is performed.

"The significant reduction in long-pending FBI name checks will result in improved service for USCIS customers," Dougherty said. "Congress provided the necessary funding for USCIS and the FBI to complete a larger percentage of FBI name checks in a timely manner.”

Dougherty had identified FBI name check delays as one of the major hurdles to improved customer service at USCIS in his 2007 and 2008 Annual Reports to Congress.

In total, there were 269,943 name checks pending May 6, and 95,449 pending as of Aug. 12, the release states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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