This is a story of a government initiative that was supposed to revolutionize an antiquated paper-based system in 8 years and for the bargain price of $500 million dollars. What could go wrong?
Everything, apparently. And I do mean everything. Work that has to be redone. Scrapping technology solutions because they were out of date before being put into production. Poor planning. Mismanagement. The list is endless.
The Washington Post has the entire, sordid story but basically the project has already taken ten years, has already spent a billion (with a “B”) dollars, and has resulted in just one out of 95 documents being available online.
A decade of work. A billion dollars. One document, 94 to go.
Heaving under mountains of paperwork, the government has spent more than $1 billion trying to replace its antiquated approach to managing immigration with a system of digitized records, online applications and a full suite of nearly 100 electronic forms.
A decade in, all that officials have to show for the effort is a single form that’s now available for online applications and a single type of fee that immigrants pay electronically. The 94 other forms can be filed only with paper.
This project, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was originally supposed to cost a half-billion dollars and be finished in 2013. Instead, it’s now projected to reach up to $3.1 billion and be done nearly four years from now, putting in jeopardy efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies, handle immigrants already seeking citizenship and detect national security threats, according to documents and interviews with former and current federal officials.
Did you see that? Only another $3.1 billion and four more years to fix everything and get another 94 documents online!
Anyone taking book on whether it takes longer and costs much, much more? Because I want some of that action. I’d bet my life savings that the project won’e be completed by 2020 in less than $6B. Seriously.
It’s worth mentioning that the one process that has been digitized isn’t for new immigrants; it’s to replace or renew a Green Card. It doesn’t keep known terrorists out of the country. It doesn’t identify known criminals attempting to live among our citizens. It was low hanging fruit and has low impact to our safety. A billion dollars so someone can renew a green card.
And the media wonders why so many see Donald Trump is seen as a viable alternative to career politicians and a bat toting neurosurgeon.