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Locke says Vital Statistics Unit is the biggest challenge for the Department

Since her appointment as Immigration Director, Diana Locke has been making significant changes within the Department. According to Locke, the Department’s biggest challenge is the Vital Statistics Unit.

Diana Locke – Director of the Immigration Department

“We at the passport section, we have many challenges with the documents issued by vital statistics particularly changes in names, persons who have known themselves by one name find out twenty five years later that that is not your name and that you have another name and we have to work with persons to advise them as to how to go about correcting these things. Having them make a decision as to what they would like to be known as and once that is decided then they have to decide what course of action they are going to take at vital statistics. There is quite a bit of impact on people’s lives and sometimes I feel for people, minor errors that are made on documents coming out of vital stats there is definitely a need- that is perhaps our biggest challenge.”

Eamon Courtney, Senator

“The integrity of your system to a large extent is dependent on the integrity of vital stats?”

Diana Locke – Director of the Immigration Department

“That is correct.”

Eamon Courtney – Senator

“And you are saying to us that you still have concerns at this time about the accuracy and authenticity of two things; what they are doing and things that come out as if it came from there which is a different thing.”

Diana Locke – Director of the Immigration Department

“Well I’m not sure about coming out as if it was from there but certainly documents that we have seen which I’m assuming came from vital stats, when we have doubts we check with them.”

Eamon Courtney – Senator

“And have they ever said to you ‘that’s a fraudulent document?”

Diana Locke – Director of the Immigration Department

“No, since I have been there we haven’t had a fraudulent case but it has a lot to do with maybe a spelling or accuracy of the information; from time to time we have queried late registrations because that is a practice that still happens and so that is an area of concern for us because we don’t know whether or not there is a case that I am aware of that is being looked at and we have been made aware by Social Security. So Social Security sometimes encounters those cases before we do because people are required to have an ID when they come to the passport office so after leaving vital stats they would generally go to Social Security, apply for a card and they have a very good system in place where they are very vigilant in checking things and sometimes they contact us and bring to our attention things that they have flagged that they have seen.”

The next Senate Hearing is scheduled for September 27.