The Immigration Hackers
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East|1 January, 2019

An Obama-era department of techies is working to streamline paperwork from inside the Trump administration. Results are mixed.

Lizette Chapman

The Trump administration deployed military forces to block asylum-seekers from crossing the southern U.S. border and is indefinitely detaining more than 14,000 migrant children, so it’s easy to overlook that missing paperwork is quietly threatening the legal status of hundreds of thousands of green card holders. The backlog of legal residents waiting for their renewal forms to be processed topped a record 700,000 at one point last year, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says that 34 of the 42 forms it handles now take longer to process than they did in 2016. To keep people from being accidentally deported while their renewals were pending, the agency started sending them little rectangular stickers with extended expiration dates to affix to their laminated green cards. When it ran out of stickers, it called Matt Cutts.

Cutts runs the U.S. Digital Service, an executive branch agency created by President Barack Obama to salvage the botched healthcare.gov website and drag the feds into the digital age. He became the USDS’s second administrator on President Trump’s first day, taking over from a former Google colleague. Cutts’s staff of 170, a smattering of them drawn from Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, is credited with saving the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs $100 million by streamlining its cloud computing systems, with editing language on the Veterans Administration’s benefits website to make sure it ranks high in Google searches, and even with building a radio-frequency jammer that disables enemy drones. Now the USDS is undertaking its biggest challenge yet: making immigrants’ lives easier without attracting Trump’s ire.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK MIDDLE EASTView All

The Novo Abides

Mike Novogratz, former Goldman Sachs partner and the loudest crypto bull on Wall Street, has made and lost a fortune on Bitcoin. He’s still all-in.

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Weaponizing Uncertainty

Trump’s tariffs were meant to make the U.S. a safe option for businesses looking to expand. It’s not working out that way.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

The Immigration Hackers

An Obama-era department of techies is working to streamline paperwork from inside the Trump administration. Results are mixed.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Letter From London, March 2029

A message from post-Brexit Britain about what the 2019 split from the EU hasn’t delivered.

8 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Saudi Weighs More Bank Mergers

Gulf bank consolidation trend gathers pace with Saudi plans.

2 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Money Markets Mixed Over Fed Rate Hikes

There is little agreement among commentators as to whether the Fed will continue to hike rates in 2019.

1 min read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Hey, Paul Ryan, What's Up? Budget Deficits

The professed fiscal hawk leaves behind a legacy of unsustainable shortfalls.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Dell EMC Bullish On 2019 Outlook

Cloud and technology giant plans further expansion in the Middle East.

2 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

Artificial Intelligence Has Some Explaining To Do

Software makers offer more transparent machine-learning tools—but there’s a trade-off.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
1 January, 2019

What Buffalo Got, And Didn't Get, When Tesla Came To Town

After $750 million in subsidies and years of delays, critics say Elon Musk hasn’t done enough for his solar panel factory

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East
December 16, 2018
RELATED STORIES

MILLION-DOLLAR SLICE

CHRIS BARRETT HAS MADE BANK ON THE GRAY MARKET SELLING PIZZA LACED WITH 40 MG OF THC PER SLICE. CAN THE PIZZA PUSHA SURVIVE POT LEGALIZATION?

10+ mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

TV / JEN CHANEY - Novice in Office

An aging businessman enters politics on a whim. Heard that one before?

4 mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

The File: Bad Bunny

Language barriers, gender norms, the sheer boringness of quarantine—none of it stands a chance against Bad Bunny, the artist remaking pop in his own wild image.

4 mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

POP / CRAIG JENKINS - Hair of the Dog

A pop-country barfly pours one out for his fans’ expectations.

5 mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

MOVIES / BILGE EBIRI - Anatomy of a Murder

Unwinding Jamal Khashoggi’s history with the regime that killed him.

5 mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

Mike Nichols's Heartburn

The celebrated director was at the top of his game when friend Nora Ephron trusted him to direct the movie based on his her messy breakup with Carl Bernstein. His own breakup—and breakdown—turned out to be right around the corner.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

WHOLE EGG SCARE: Facts and Fallacies

I can’t remember how many times over the years I’ve cracked open an egg, separated the protein-loaded egg white from the egg yolk that contains fat and cholesterol, and only consumed the egg white.

4 mins read
Muscular Development
February 2021

Jazmine's Tale

After a long hiatus, the venerated R&B singer returns with her riskiest album yet.

7 mins read
New York magazine
January 18–31, 2021

VITALY UGOLNIKOV 23-Year-Old Russian Bodybuilding Sensation

It is a great pleasure to feature 23-year-old Russian bodybuilding sensation Vitaly Ugolnikov in Muscular Development. MD readers will discover a new young champion who might be one of the most promising pros in the circuit in the near future.

7 mins read
Muscular Development
February 2021

The Suburbanites Once great offensive line

Center Bart Oates was nicknamed “Books” by Bill Parcells.

4 mins read
The Giant Insider
February 2021