On December 4, 2006, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed in the Federal Register (71 FR 70413, December 5, 2006) to add a new system of records, the Background Check Service, to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) inventory. USCIS developed the Background Check Service to serve as a centralized repository that contains the consolidated data on all background check requests and results. Authorized USCIS representatives can request background checks and access data stored in the system of records during the adjudication process of pending applications. The established system of records will be effective January 3, 2007 unless comments to the Federal Register notice result in a contrary determination.
It is crucial that this repository provide a more efficient and quicker response to the USCIS’s request for background checks. Delays in receiving responses to background checks have caused unreasonably long delays in approving immigration applications. Applicants have been forced to sue the DHS in mandamus petitions in the federal courts and the results have been favorable for many applicants. However, after paying exorbitant immigration filing fees, applicants should not be forced to pay additional fees to obtain a decision within a reasonable period of time. Also, flooding the federal courts with such mandamus petitions does no credit to our judicial system.