DHS to combine databases for immigration management

New Citizenship and Immigration Data Repository to be classified

The Homeland Security Department’s Citizenship and Immigration Services division is combining its several databases for immigration management into a single system to improve fraud detection and respond to information requests from the intelligence community and law enforcement officials.

The new system -- the Citizenship and Immigration Data Repository (CIDR) – was presented in the Federal Register on Sept. 8 and will go into effect Oct. 8. Comments on the system will be accepted until that date.

According to DHS, the new classified database will enable officials to search a single database of information gleaned from several IT databases including: The Computer Linked Application Information Management System 3; CLAIMS 4; the Refugees, Asylum, and Parole System; Asylum Pre-screen System; Reengineered Naturalization Application Casework System; Central Index System; and the Fraud Detection and National Security Data System.

CIDR will be used to perform background checks on immigrants and non-immigrants alike, but access to it will be limited to ensure those requesting the information are not obtaining it for fraudulent activities and do not present a national security concern.

Another reason for CIDR’s classified status is that many information requests from the intelligence community and law enforcement officials are classified, even though the information collected is not classified. Only vetted CIS employees will be able to perform searches on CIDR, which is composed of mirror copies of information in the original databases.

DHS will share the information from CIDR with other U.S. and international government agencies, but only on a need-to-know basis.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

Reader Comments

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 Michael D. Long Knoxville, TN

The reasons given for treating this system as classified do not appear to be valid nor in the public's interest. By the logic set forth, an online phone directory should be classified if accessed by law enforcement. Where is the public outcry from those opposing such actions by the Bush administration? If there is a justifiable reason for classifying a portion of the records in this system, then such portion should exist in a separate system of records. This goes against national security policy by overclassification, artificially driving up the number of clearances required, needlessly increasing cost to the taxpayer, and limiting oversight and accountability of the government to itself - namely, the people!

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