The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service plans to add 500 jobs to its already sizeable work force in the Kansas City area to handle the flood of paperwork prompted by a presidential order last summer.
The new jobs will be going to the Rosana Square center at 119th Street and Metcalf Avenue. The employees to be hired for the CIS national benefits center will occupy 106,000 square-feet vacated six years ago when hundreds of Internal Revenue Service workers were relocated to the new IRS processing center near Union Station.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service, the agency charged with overseeing lawful immigration once known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, already has a major presence on the Missouri side of the metropolitan area with about 1,900 employees. Most work at two facilities in Lee’s Summit, the CIS National Records Center and the National Benefits Center.
The additional federal jobs coming to the metro are partly the result of the flood of applications prompted by President Obama’s decision in June to allow young undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. without being deported. The CIS began accepting applications for the program in mid-August.
At the time, the Associated Press reported the new policy would lead to more than 1 million applications during its first year with about 890,000 people being immediately eligible.
Jason Klumb, regional administrator for the federal General Services Administration, said the local GSA office was able to act quickly when the CIS put out its request for additional space last summer because it still controlled the area formerly occupied by the IRS at Rosana Square.
“It’s important to point out the CIS was looking nationally and wanted to move quickly in response the executive order,” Klumb said. “The GSA could not only meet the time frame they were looking for, but was also able to expand the lease to meet the new requirements.”
The presidential directive applied to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were younger than 16 and who are currently not older than 30. They must have resided in the country continuously for at least five years and can’t have been convicted of a felony or a significant or multiple misdemeanors.