Inspection of the Influx of New Personnel
Report Number 1-2000-018
The Inspections Division, Office of the Inspector General, Department of Justice, has completed a follow-up inspection to its Influx of New Personnel in the Immigration and Naturalization Service, I-96-01, October 1995. This inspection reviewed the actions taken by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) since our original inspection focusing on INS's ability to manage the large influx of Border Patrol agents mandated by Congress beginning in fiscal year (FY) 1996.
In the early 1990s, the Border Patrol was apprehending in excess of one million illegal aliens along the Southwest Border annually. In response, the Border Patrol developed a new strategic plan in 1994 outlining four phases to control the U.S. borders. The first three phases of this plan focus on the Southwest Border. The Border Patrol changed its strategy from apprehending aliens after they cross the border to deterring aliens from crossing the border. The Border Patrol recognized that in order to achieve this approach it would need significant increases in resources, beginning with the Southwest Border. As a result Congress mandated Border Patrol agent increases beginning in FY 1996.
In 1995, we assessed INS's ability to manage the large influx of new Border Patrol agents expected in FY 1996. INS's plan, depending on congressional appropriation, was to recruit, train, and deploy between 1,350 and 1,700 new Border Patrol agents in that first year. INS developed an effective, centralized process for recruiting and hiring Border Patrol agents, and we believed INS was in a position to recruit and hire a sufficient number of new Border Patrol agents to meet its FY 1996 goal and goals for the foreseeable future.
We found, however, that training posed a different challenge. The Border Patrol Academy facilities available at the time (Glynco, Georgia, and Artesia, New Mexico), did not have the capacity to train the large number of new Border Patrol agents INS planned to hire in FY 1996. While INS was in the selection process for a third training site, we believed it would not be operational in time to train the required number of new agents. INS selected Charleston, South Carolina (after our report was issued), but did not open it in time to meet the training goal for FY 1996.
Because there was an insufficient number of instructors at the academies, INS planned to use a large number of experienced Border Patrol agents detailed from the field. This action significantly altered the mix of experienced to inexperienced agents remaining at field locations. In addition, supervisory training had to be suspended in order to meet the training needs of the new recruits.
We also reported that the infrastructure at field locations was not adequate to accommodate the new agents. INS experienced some logistical problems because of the large number of additional Border Patrol agents deployed prior to FY 1996, and faced additional obstacles because of the large number of agents it planned to deploy in FY 1996. Border Patrol sector chiefs did not know how many new agents their sectors would receive or when the new agents would arrive, making operational planning difficult. New agents were arriving at duty stations that had a shortage of supervisors and shortages of equipment, such as body armor and binoculars.
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