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The agency established in 2002, with the formation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to confer immigration benefits on deserving foreign citizens—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—has been essentially leaderless for the last year and a half. From March 13, 2008, with the resignation of its last director, Emilio González, to the Aug. 12, 2009, swearing-in of Obama appointee, Alejandro Mayorkas (who, like his predecessor, immigrated from Cuba), USCIS has been an agency in continuous chaos. Mr. Mayorkas will soon learn the facts on the ground at USCIS—intractable backlogs, opaque procedures, and a doubting-Thomas bureaucracy still mired in a century-old system of paper-based petitions, applications, form letters and boilerplate responses despite many failed efforts at automation.1

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