The National Federation of Federal Employees says federal passport specialists are overworked and often don’t have time to thoroughly review passport applications.
This burden may be responsible for the State Department’s failure to identify five of seven fraudulent passport applications the Government Accountability Office submitted in a covert operation, the union argued in a press release today.
Passport agency workers have to meet productivity quotas and “failing to meet these numbers in the interest of carefully reviewing citizenship documents could lead to termination,” according to the NFFE.
Passport specialists were unable to provide input when higher-ups were formulating the quotas, the union says.
Also, reforms instituted after a 2009 GAO report that revealed a similar failure to detect passport fraud may have ironically hindered passport workers’ ability to recognize fake documents. NFFE said passport specialists “are now distracted by additional and stricter requirements for how they notate applications” and “that extra attention comes at the expense of reviewing the overall case and its citizenship evidence.”