One of the most underreported stories in Washington is a massive IT failure—lasting more than a month—that slowed legal proceedings at the nation’s immigration courts.
In its reporting last week, Politico quoted Dana Marks, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, describing the work environment: “We are now limping along, keeping the system running with paper clips and scotch tape. It’s appalling.”
Reports of chaos in the nation’s immigration courts will do little to allay the concerns of House Republicans who think that the Obama administration will not—or cannot—faithfully implement any immigration legislation Congress might pass.
The immigration courts’ IT meltdown–the Justice Department announced Monday that the electronic databases that went offline April 12 are functioning again–represents another prominent example of botched implementation by federal agencies. It comes amid congressional inquiries into allegations of mismanagement and misconduct at the Department of Veterans Affairs. And the Washington Post reported this week on another facet of the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov: “The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors.”
President Obama came into office attempting to restore faith and trust in government. Individually and collectively, these competency difficulties can only detract from his objective.
This post was originally published at the Wall Street Journal Think Tank blog.