US Immigration Reform PLAN A Accurate



bullseyeThe accuracy of our immigration program’s data is of paramount importance. If the information we store about anyone is tainted with mistakes or cannot identify someone with extreme accuracy, then we won’t be much better off than we are today. False positive identifications could get the wrong people deported, or worse.

If we take a look around us at industries that rely on accuracy we get an interesting perspective on how important high rates of reliability are to them. 





price-cutA quick search for errors on credit reports, an industry that needs a high level of accuracy when people’s borrowing power relies on it shows  a staggering 20% of consumers had an error on credit report (40 million)


The banking industry is famous for having extremely low rates of error. They process millions of transactions every day. They need to be extremely accurate. A study called, “ The 2012 Exceptions Benchmarking Study”  revealed “0.58 percent of total bill payments (including checks, ACH, cards and cash payments) in 2011 were not able to be posted accurately upon receipt by billers. Based on this exception rate, it is estimated that 130 million payments required exception handling, costing the industry approximately $720 million annually.”

Luckily our immigration system won’t be processing the quantities of transactions the banking industry does, or will it? If every form an immigrant or visitor is counted as a transaction (because it could produce an error itself) and there were say a million applications per month for travel, work and immigration, depending on how complicated these forms are and how many of them are needed, we could actually come close to seeing millions of “records” per day needing processing. A 0.58% error rate could cost us quite a bit of time, money and aggravation as well, but it’s something we should at least aim for when setting up our system so we can achieve a high rate of accuracy from the get-go.


I looked up some more statistics from private industry where accuracy was of paramount importance. These companies live and die by how accurate they process their customers packages.



I quote a report by the public broadcasting system in July of 1999.

“If Federal Express delivered 99 percent of its packages on time, an error rate of just 1 percent, roughly 8 million packages a year would still arrive late.” 8 million errors on immigration paperwork could represent up to 8 million incorrect approvals or denials of immigration and visitor applications.



Compare this to it’s rival UPS, which handles more than twice the volume of packages that FedEx does. With an annual rate of approximately 15.8 million units; FedEx delivered 6.9 million units. UPS delivered approximately 91 percent of its express packages on time, while FedEx delivered 88 percent of its express packages on time.

So roughly 9-12 percent error rates for this industry. That could mean that 1 out of every 10 immigration or visitor applications could be processed incorrectly.

This is way too high, and these companies are very good at what they do.


Now let’s bring this home. We looked at some excellent companies in some critical industries, but where would our government fall in the grand scheme of things? They would most likely be the ones doing the processing, unless we farmed this task out to a private company that could guarantee the high rates of accuracy needed for this task.


Nearly one quarter (25%) of the mail that goes through the USPS system contains some kind of error.

  • 5.4 billion mail pieces (2.7%) are undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) each year (USPS FY98 UAA Estimated Volumes)
  • 3.4 billion forwarded or returned (63%)
  • 2.0 billion treated as waste (37%)

Correcting the undeliverable portion of these errors mail piece by mail piece costs the USPS nearly $2 billion per year.

This does not look promising. Unfortunately after scouring the internet I found the Government does not provide or publish statistics of reliability or accuracy, prompting me to wonder if they even check. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss I guess.



One government industry overseen by a watchdog industry has reported that 10 percent of death sentences are being overturned by evidence of innocence. Now this industry is literally a life and death situation. There should be 0 percent error rates tolerated here, yet they are finding a whopping 10 percent error rate. We must do better than this. (they must do better than this too.)

As is painfully obvious, we need to hold higher standards than is currently being achieved today by most industries, but we have to start somewhere. Keeping the process as simple as possible with the least amount of information gathered and tracked as necessary for the efficient functioning of this system needs to be a high priority. This will help us at least begin with a good shot at a low error rate. After we get this system rolling we can fix and refine it until it is the model of efficiency and accuracy.

Who knows where this type of attention to detail might do for the rest of our government.

Next up: Actionable. Getting things easy and accurate means we can actually do things with the information we gather and our immigration process could actually work for us.

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  1. […] we’ve followed Plan A this far we will have a simple, inexpensive and highly accurate immigration process.  Added all together we now have information regarding our visitors and […]

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