October 1, 2001–March 31, 2002
Office of the Inspector General
THE EVALUATION AND INSPECTIONS DIVISION
The Evaluation and Inspections Division (E&I) provides alternatives to traditional audits and investigations through short-term management assessments and program evaluations that assess the efficiency, vulnerability, and effectiveness of Department operations. E&I relies on its multidisciplinary workforce to provide timely reviews on diverse issues. E&I is located in Washington, DC, and is directed by the AIG for Evaluation and Inspections.
In light of the September 11 terrorist attacks, E&I conducted five follow-up reviews that examined the INS's efforts to address national security deficiencies identified in previous OIG reviews. The reviews revealed continued problems in the INS's programs that affect its ability to secure the nation's borders.
THE BORDER PATROL'S EFFORTS TO IMPROVE SECURITY ALONG THE NORTHERN BORDER
We examined the progress the Border Patrol had made in improving the security of the northern border since the OIG issued an inspection report on the subject in February 2000, Border Patrol Efforts Along the Northern Border. Our follow-up review found that the INS had made some improvements that enhanced border security, including increased international and multi-agency cooperation. However, we found that northern border sectors had received a minimal number of additional Border Patrol agents and no new support staff. Consequently, many Border Patrol stations still could not operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the Border Patrol's communications system remained inadequate, and a critical shortage of air support continued. We concluded that increased staffing and resources for the northern border continues to be a critical priority to help control illegal immigration and enhance national security.
STATUS OF IDENT/IAFIS INTEGRATION
We reviewed the status of efforts to integrate the INS's automated biometric fingerprint identification system (IDENT) and the FBI's integrated automated fingerprint identification system (IAFIS). This review, conducted in response to a request by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Governmental Information, followed up on two prior OIG reviews, Review of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT), March 1998, and The Rafael Resendez-Ramirez Case: A Review of the INS's Actions and the Operation of its IDENT Automated Fingerprint Identification System, March 2000. Our primary finding, similar to our prior reports' conclusions, was that the Department and its components have moved slowly toward integration and that full integration of IDENT and IAFIS remains years away. We recommended that the Department continue to seek linkage of the FBI and INS biometric identification systems and use IDENT while integration of IDENT and IAFIS is proceeding. We believe that IDENT workstations should be deployed to additional INS sites pending full integration with IAFIS because IDENT allows a rapid check of aliens seeking entry into the United States. We also recommend, as an interim measure, adding to the IDENT lookout database fingerprint records for aliens wanted in connection with crimes.
VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens from 28 countries to enter the United States, as temporary visitors for business or pleasure, without a visa. We evaluated the INS's progress in implementing recommendations contained in the OIG's March 1999 report, The Potential for Fraud and INS's Efforts to Reduce the Risks of the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Our follow-up review found that the INS had distributed guidance to improve the collection and dissemination of information about missing VWP passports but did not take appropriate measures to ensure the guidance was followed at the ports of entry. Therefore, the INS still does not have a mechanism that provides systematic, consistent, and timely information about missing VWP passports to its immigration inspectors. We concluded that the failure to make this information available to INS immigration inspectors could contribute to the admission into the United States of criminal aliens or terrorists fraudulently using passports from VWP countries. We urged the INS to reissue the guidance and to take aggressive follow-up actions to ensure that field agents follow the guidance.
IMPROVING THE SECURITY OF THE TRANSIT WITHOUT VISA PROGRAM
The Transit Without Visa (TWOV) Program allows certain nonimmigrants to transit through the United States to a destination in another country. Visa requirements are waived for eligible nonimmigrants in TWOV status, who can remain in the United States for up to eight hours awaiting departure on connecting flights to their final destination. We found that many of the security concerns identified in our March 1993 report, Transit Without Visa Program, continue to exist. Specifically, the INS has not taken adequate measures to improve airlines' supervision of TWOV passengers, and the INS still cannot verify departure of TWOV passengers. Prior to September 11, 2001, TWOV passengers were permitted to wait for their connecting flights in "in-transit lounges" (ITL) without having to undergo INS examination of their travel documents. The INS temporarily suspended the ITL program after the terrorist attacks but resumed operations in November 2001, after taking action to enhance security by requiring that all ITL passengers undergo more rigorous inspection. Still, the TWOV program continues to offer an avenue for aliens to enter the United States illegally. We recommended that the INS take immediate action to address TWOV program security concerns.
INS EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE CONTROL OF NONIMMIGRANT OVERSTAYS
In a fifth follow-up review nearing completion, we are examining the INS's monitoring of nonimmigrant overstays. This review focuses on the collection and reliability of overstay data, which we previously reviewed in the OIG's 1997 report, Inspection of Immigration and Naturalization Service Monitoring of Nonimmigrant Overstays.
INTERNATIONAL EXTRADITION OF FUGITIVES
The Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs (OIA) is the Department's central point of contact for U.S. prosecutors and foreign governments seeking to extradite fugitives. We assessed whether the OIA managed the extradition process effectively and whether the OIA appropriately carried out its responsibilities for the international extradition of fugitives.
We found that the OIA had not developed internal policies, procedures, or standards for processing extradition cases that delineate staff responsibilities, time frames, or priorities to guide employees or communicate management expectations. The OIA's rate of case closure has not kept pace with the number of new cases, resulting in a pending caseload that has increased more than 100 percent since 1990. Although extradition cases may remain open for many years because of legal, diplomatic, or law enforcement issues, we found that many cases remained open because of inattention. According to OIA staff, they did not follow up on cases because of the steady receipt of new cases requiring immediate attention, the large volume of cases assigned to each attorney (which made follow-up unfeasible) and a view that it was not the OIA's responsibility to initiate follow-up on pending cases. According to OIA officials, U.S. and foreign investigators, prosecutors, and officials are responsible for monitoring their extradition cases and for initiating any follow-up action needed to further the extradition. However, we recommended that the OIA implement better management practices to ensure more timely and effective disposition of each pending case. The OIA concurred with our five recommendations.
THE INS'S NATIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER TELEPHONE INFORMATION SERVICE
We conducted a survey of the INS's National Customer Service Center Telephone Information Service to assess the accuracy of answers provided by INS customer service representatives, the timeliness of information provided, and the professionalism of customer service representatives.
We found that INS telephone information customer service representatives provided correct answers to questions 94 percent of the time. Incorrect information centered around two subject areas - work authorization and employment eligibility verification. We found that customer service representatives were helpful and often made significant efforts to ensure our questions were answered properly and thoroughly. We rated the service provided to us as good or excellent 95 percent of the time. Furthermore, we found that the wait times to speak to customer service representatives averaged 1 minute, 9 seconds. Our report made one recommendation to help improve this quality program.
REVIEW OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES TREATMENT
In furtherance of our responsibilities under the USA Patriot Act of 2001, the OIG initiated a review of the treatment of detainees held by the Department in two facilities - the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey, and the BOP's Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York - in connection with the response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Among the issues we plan to review are detainees' access to counsel, timeliness of presentation or disposition of criminal or other charges, and physical detention conditions.
THE DEA'S ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM ON THE DIVERSION OF SCHEDULED PHARMACEUTICALS
This review evaluates the DEA's program for deterring and investigating the illegal diversion of scheduled pharmaceuticals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the incidence of non-medical use of prescription drugs has doubled in the last ten years and that about three million Americans abuse scheduled pharmaceuticals. Our objectives are to assess the DEA's response to the illegal diversion of pharmaceuticals, including OxyContin. We are examining the DEA's enforcement strategies, allocation of resources to investigate illegal diversion, and the effectiveness of enforcement operations.
DRUG INTERDICTION EFFORTS WITHIN THE BOP
This review evaluates interdiction activities implemented by the BOP to prevent the introduction of drugs into BOP institutions. We plan to describe the types and extent of problems with drugs in BOP facilities and to identify the various drug interdiction methods the BOP uses to prevent drugs from entering its institutions.
DOJ Order 2900.10, Follow-up and Resolution Policy for Inspection Recommendations by the OIG, requires reports to be resolved within six months of the report issuance date. As of March 31, 2002, there are no unresolved E&I reports.
EVALUATION AND INSPECTIONS STATISTICS
The chart below summarizes E&I's accomplishments for the 6-month reporting period ending March 31, 2002.
|E&I Workload Accomplishments||Number of Reviews|
|Reviews active at beginning of period||5|
|Final reports issued||6|
|Reviews active at end of reporting period||7|