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Department of Homeland Security

Office of Inspector General

Semiannual Report
to the Congress

April 1, 2018 - September 30, 2018



“I am pleased to present our semiannual report, which summarizes the work and accomplishments of our office during the second half of fiscal year 2018. The audits, inspections, and investigations we conducted during this reporting period should help improve treatment and care of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees at detention facilities; make progress toward implementing controls to regulate access to Department of Homeland Security facilities and systems; and improve oversight and controls for identifying and processing aliens who are known or suspected terrorists. In addition, our work will enhance the United States Coast Guard’s oversight of information technology investments, and ensure Federal Emergency Management Agency funds are put to better use to improve management and oversight of disaster-related programs.”

- John V. Kelly, Acting Inspector General



HIGHLIGHTS

AUDITS & INSPECTIONS

Our audits resulted in questioned costs of $45,234,688 of which $332,138 did not have supporting documentation. The Department recovered or deobligated from audits $50,053,802. (See appendix 6.) We issued 3 reports identifying $4,964,641 in funds put to better use. Additionally, we reported $32,417,115 in recoveries, fines, and restitution from investigations and $72,947,509 in forfeited assets.

Type of Impact Amount
Questioned Costs
$45,234,688
Funds to be Put to Better Use
$4,964,641
Management Agreement that Funds be Recovered/Deobligated from Audits
$50,053,802
Funds Recovered/Deobligated from Audits
$50,053,802
Recoveries from Investigations (Not from Fines and Restitution)
$5,548,964*
Fines from Investigations
$11,486
Restitution from Investigations
$26,856,665
Asset Forfeiture1
$72,947,509

* The recovery amount includes $5,212,896.63 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deobligation.

1The asset forfeiture amount was obtained from numerous defendants, pursuant to judicial orders, as a result of a joint investigation with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (Seattle), Homeland Security Investigations (Sacramento), and the U.S. Secret Service (Chicago).


We issued 30 reports, including 2 management alerts, and 4 reports on Disaster Relief Fund spending (appendix 5), as well as 406 investigative reports, while continuing to strengthen our transparency and internal oversight.

Our reports provide the DHS Secretary and Congress with an objective assessment of the issues the Department faces. The reports also offer specific recommendations to correct deficiencies and improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of DHS’ programs.

Since 2003, our work has inspired significant Department and congressional action to correct deficiencies identified in our audit, inspection, and investigative reports. We issued more than 10,414 recommendations to improve the economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of the Department’s programs and operations. As of September 30, 2018, the Department took action to address all but 547 of those recommendations. Congress has also taken notice of our work and called on us to testify 153 times since our office was created.

During this reporting period, we issued 30 new reports and 116 unique recommendations to the Department; we closed 149 recommendations, issued in this and prior periods, because of the Department’s actions. Congress also recognized our work by calling on us to testify one time about our efforts to improve the Department.

INVESTIGATIONS

We initiated 395 and closed 433 investigations. Our investigations resulted in 41 arrests, 65 indictments, 46 convictions, and 18 personnel actions. We have included, in accordance with the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, information regarding number of persons referred to state and local prosecuting authorities and indictments that resulted from prior referrals to prosecuting authorities.

Type of Investigation* Number
Open Investigations as of 4/1/2018 1,266
Investigations Initiated 395
Investigations Closed 433
Open Investigations as of 9/30/2018 1,228
Investigative Reports Issued 406
Investigations Referred for Prosecution 102
Investigations Accepted for Prosecution 51
Investigations Declined for Prosecution 44
Total number of persons referred to state and local prosecuting authorities for criminal prosecution 20
Total number of indictments and criminal information during the reporting period that resulted from any prior referral to prosecuting authorities 29

*All data was obtained from the Enforcement Data System, which is the Office of Investigation’s case management system.
Note: Investigations accepted or declined may have been received in a prior reporting period.


HOTLINE & WHISTLEBLOWER RETALIATION COMPLAINT TOTALS

*Complaints referred and closed included complaints received in prior period.

Whistleblower Retaliation Complaints Subject to In-Depth Review: 98



FOCUS AREAS

During this reporting period, we issued 30 new reports and 116 unique recommendations to the Department; we closed 149 recommendations, issued in this and prior periods, because of the Department’s actions. Congress also recognized our work by calling on us to testify one time about our efforts to improve the Department. Our Semiannual Report to Congress highlights a number of audits and inspections that we conducted the eight focus areas below. Click each focus area for a description.


INVESTIGATIONS

Our Reports of Investigation disclosed a border patrol agent (BPA) used a BPA vehicle to smuggle marijuana into the United States; a company owner defrauded FEMA; a TSA employee engaged in racketeering and money laundering; a former ICE Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent committed bank fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud; and a BPA stole government property.

DISASTER RELATED ACTIVITIES

We issued eight disaster related reports, including audits of grants funds. Of note, we questioned $33 million awarded to the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority in California. We also recommend FEMA recover $20.4 million from a wastewater treatment plant in Mississippi. We also reviewed several public assistance projects under the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Our reports on financial management focused on the Department of Homeland Security’s FY 2017 Compliance with Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010; the audit of Department of Homeland Security’s FY 2016 Conference Spending; and FEMA paid Employees Over the Annual Pay Cap.

IMMIGRATION

During this SAR period, we assessed ICE’s inspection and monitoring of detention facilities. We also continued to conduct unannounced site visits to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. We assessed DHS' separation of families at the southern border pursuant to Administration's Zero Tolerance Policy, and handling of unaccompanied alien children. We noted serious issues at one ICE processing center that violate detention standards.


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CYBERSECURITY

We evaluated CBP’s efforts to implement a biometric exit capability, and whether the data collected has improved DHS’ ability to verify foreign visitor departures at U.S. airports. We also reviewed whether CBP’s air mail inspection processes at JFK airport are effective. We determined the extent to which DHS completed an assessment of the security value of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program; and the extent to which the Coast Guard’s oversight of the program ensures only eligible individuals are granted unescorted access to secure areas of regulated facilities.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

In response to congressional concerns about the increase in assaults on CBP and ICE law enforcement personnel in recent years, we reviewed those assaults. We also reviewed whether CBP is effectively safeguarding information, such as images and video, collected on and transmitted from the Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. We also conducted an inspection to examine whether ICE is effectively overseeing and managing the 287(g) program as it expands.

TERRORISM

We reviewed the extent to which the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) ground-based operations contribute to the Transportation Security Administration’s layered approach to security. This audit was the second in a series of audits on FAMS.



Recommendations

Open Recommendations at the beginning of the period
Recommendations issued this period

* Recommendations closed this period
Open Recommendations at the end of the period

* Note: This chart excludes investigative reports.

A list of reports with open recommendations over 6 months old can be found in the full PDF report:

Pages 25 – 41



WE INVESTIGATED...

Three USCIS managers

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Former Secret Service Manager

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CBP Manager

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