Feeds

Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age

Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A massive computer failure at the US Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is reportedly wreaking havoc on US immigration courts, with application outages continuing well into their second week.

The agency issued an alert on April 14 warning immigration lawyers that certain key systems were down, but the New York Post reports that the outage actually began two days earlier.

"Certain applications, including eRegistration and some systems used to access information, such as the telephonic case information system (1-800 phone number), are currently not available," the EOIR alert explains. "We hope to have this situation resolved in the near future."

No such luck, it seems. As of late Tuesday afternoon, the application that attorneys must use to register with the EOIR before they are allowed to appear before an immigration court or the Board of Immigration Appeals was still listed as unavailable.

The toll-free telephone hotline that gives out information on immigration court cases is also reportedly still down.

According to a notice posted on the EOIR website, the outage is due to a "hardware failure," but an insider told the Post that it's more complicated than that. Five separate servers have died, the source said, triggering a catastrophic system failure that has thrown the immigration courts back to the bad old days of paper, pens, and tape recorders.

Screenshot showing statement regarding EOIR systems outage

The phrase "good enough for government work" comes to mind

What's more, the anonymous source said, the parts needed to fix the servers won't arrive  – mind-bogglingly – for two more weeks, even though they are apparently being shipped from Fairfax, Virginia, just seven miles away from EOIR's Falls Church headquarters.

"The Board of Immigration Appeals is continuing to process cases each day," the EOIR's online statement bravely states, "but is prioritizing its caseload to compensate for reliance on manual processes."

To hear court workers tell it, however, the paperwork is piling up. The Post's source said some illegal immigrants who are scheduled to be deported have even managed to skip flights back to their native countries thanks to the systems failure.

One attorney even speculated that delays caused by the meltdown could potentially allow some defendants to have their cases thrown out, if they can successfully argue that they are being denied due process under the law.

EOIR has offered no projected date when service will be restored. Its online statement not-very-helpfully explains, "We are continuing to evaluate the problem and are hard at work to find a solution." ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.