Letter to the Department of Homeland Security Regarding United States Investigations Services, Inc.

Sep 2, 2014

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The Honorable Jeh Johnson
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nebraska Avenue Complex
3801 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Johnson:

National headlines continue to discuss the porous nature of our border and the need to put additional resources on the border in order to protect our national security.  Our government’s ability to protect our citizens begins with our willingness and capacity to secure our nation’s borders and ensure that those entering our country do not pose a threat to public safety. This means that there is a need not only for additional border security measures, but also a need to ensure that those who are entering the country, or applying for a change in status, are thoroughly vetted to ensure we know who is in our country.  

To that end, we were very concerned to learn that the private sector company, U.S. Investigations Services, Inc. (USIS), has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to carry out one of our most important border security activities: the vetting of recent immigrants. As you know, USIS is the same company that was recently forced to admit that it was responsible for performing the background checks for former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, and Aaron Alexis, who shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard last fall. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice has alleged that this firm charged with handling a large portion of background checks for the government “dumped” over 665,000 cases without having properly reviewed them.

Clearly, USIS’ performance and suitability to complete essential national security checks must be thoroughly scrutinized.  Considering their past record and these worrisome allegations, we believe the stakes are too high to allow USIS to be put in charge of one of our most important border security programs. The risk to our national security is just too great.

In our view, the award of a $190 million contract to USIS, a company which has been cited by our nation’s Department of Justice for recklessness, negligence, and potentially criminal behavior is unconscionable and indefensible. How can the American taxpayer be expected to trust such a company to properly vet immigrants seeking citizenship and ensure that terrorists and criminals are not being lawfully admitted into our country and communities?  

It is for these reasons that we respectfully request that this award be withdrawn from USIS immediately until these very troubling allegations are resolved. We look forward to your timely response on this very important matter.