USCIS Computer System Slower Than Old-Fashioned Paper-Pushing

USCIS Computer System Slower Than Old-Fashioned Paper-Pushing

"After six years of development, a new automated system for processing immigration forms takes twice as long as processing applications by hand, according to a Department of Homeland Security internal watchdog.  The $1.7 billion information technology project, called Transformation, began under a $536,000 contract with a 2013 end date but soon stalled because of, inspectors say, poor planning and inadequate staffing.  One problem today is that the user interface on the Electronic Immigration System -- or ELIS -- is something of a maze.    "Immigration services officers take longer to adjudicate in ELIS in part because of the estimated 100 to 150 clicks required to move among sublevels and open documents to complete the process," Richard Harsche, acting assistant inspector general for the DHS Office of IT Audits, said in a newly released report.   ELIS -- the abbreviation was intended to evoke the historic immigration station Ellis Island -- also has no tabs or highlighting features, and searches do not produce usable results, he said.  At one location evaluated, employees closed 2.16 cases per hour manually and 0.86 cases in ELIS.  "Instead of improved efficiency, time studies conducted by service centers show that adjudicating on paper is at least two times faster than adjudicating in ELIS," Harsche said." - Aliya Sternstein, July 15, 2014.