Computers are supposed to make our lives easier, but sometimes, they end up doing the opposite. The United States has been working on a new electronic immigration system for six years, but it turns out the whole thing is actually twice as slow as the already bad paper immigration system. An internal watchdog with the Department of Homeland Security discovered the system’s issue, and it says the system is slow because it is simply too difficult to use.
The new immigration system, named “Transformation”, was supposed to roll out in 2013 but delays eventually pushed back that launch date. Since the project began with a $536,000 budget, it has since turned into a much larger $1.7 billion project, and all that money has created a hard-to-use system.
Richard Harsche, assistant inspector general for the DHS Office of IT Audits, wrote in a new report that the system is slow because it takes hundreds of clicks just to move around and open documents. “Immigration services officers take longer to adjudicate in ELIS in part because of the estimated 100 to 150 clicks required to move among sub-levels and open documents to complete the process,” says Harsche.
One example of the inefficiency of Transformation was cited in the report. According to the report, employees were closing 2.16 cases each hour manually but just 0.86 cases through the electronic system at one location.