(CNSNews.com) - A spokesperson for the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a strong denial Tuesday that the agency was pressured by Vice President Al Gore to speed up the citizenship paperwork for tens of thousands of new immigrants so they could vote in the 1996 election.
The accusations were made in Sellout, a new book by David Schippers, who served as the top investigative counsel for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment trial.
INS spokesperson Maria Cardona said Commissioner Doris Meissner was unfamiliar with Schippers' book and couldn't comment on its contents. However, Cardona told CNSNews.com, referring to a recent INS Inspector General's report, "there is absolutely no evidence that either the White House or the INS for that matter embarked upon Citizenship USA for any political reasons."
Schippers contends the Clinton-Gore administration pressured the INS into expediting its "Citizenship USA" program to grant citizenship to aliens the Clinton White House considered likely Democratic voters.
In his book, Schippers writes, "It was Gore who pressed the Immigration and Naturalization Service to grant citizenship to immigrants who might vote Democratic in the 1998 elections. In its rush, the INS didn't check the fingerprints of many immigrants to see if they had criminal backgrounds."
According to Schippers, he and his staff gathered much of that evidence even before they began investigating the Clinton impeachment case. However, Schippers believes if he and his staff had been given enough time to put together evidence and witnesses "Citizenship USA" might have figured in Clinton's impeachment trial.
"When we got into it, we realized that there were 60, 000 people, 60,000 felony records that never made it into the (FBI immigrant) file, which means there were 60,000 people who were felons who had gotten citizenship," Schippers told CNSNews.com.
After Clinton was acquitted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, Schippers' investigation of "Citizenship USA" and Gore's involvement was halted.
\tx360The Gore presidential campaign did not return phone calls seeking comment about Schippers' allegations.