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CBP

Customs and Border Protection

  • CBP Has Taken Steps to Limit Processing of Undocumented Aliens at Ports of Entry

    Executive Summary

    In 2018, senior DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leaders issued public statements urging undocumented aliens seeking asylum to enter the United States legally at ports of entry, while also directing ports of entry to focus on other priority missions and institute practices to limit the number of undocumented aliens processed at ports of entry.  CBP Office of Field Operations (OFO) personnel at 24 Southwest Border ports of entry implemented a practice known as queue management, where an officer manned a “limit line” position at or near the U.S.-Mexico border to control the number of undocumented aliens entering the port.  We identified that seven of these ports stopped processing virtually all undocumented aliens, including asylum seekers, by redirecting them to other ports located miles away.  This redirection contravenes CBP’s longstanding practice to process all aliens at a “Class A” port of entry or reclassify the port of entry.  Additionally, CBP officers at four ports returned undocumented aliens to Mexico despite a legal requirement to process asylum claims of aliens that are physically present in the United States.  We made three recommendations aimed at bringing CBP’s practices in line with Federal law and regulations and promoting efficient processing of undocumented aliens.  CBP concurred with two of the recommendations and did not concur with one.  CBP defended its decision to redirect undocumented aliens at seven ports citing the availability of operational capacity and resources and the need to maintain a discretionary balance between mission requirements at each port.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-02
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • DHS Cannot Determine the Total Cost, Effectiveness, and Value of Its Joint Task Forces

    Executive Summary

    DHS has not effectively managed and coordinated Department resources for its Joint Task Forces (JTFs).  Specifically, DHS has not maintained oversight authority through changes in leadership, implemented and updated policies and procedures, identified optimal JTF staffing levels and resources, and established a process to capture total allocated costs associated with JTFs.  In addition, DHS has not fully complied with public law requirements to report to Congress on JTFs’ cost and impact, establish outcome-based performance metrics, and establish and maintain a joint duty training program.  We recommended the DHS Secretary designate a department-level office to manage and oversee JTFs and address public law requirements.  We made seven recommendations to improve DHS’ management and oversight of its JTFs and ensure compliance with legislative requirements.  DHS provided a management response, but declined to comment, since the Acting Secretary is currently reviewing the status and future of the JTFs

    Report Number
    OIG-20-80
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • CBP's Entry Reconciliation Program Puts Revenue at Risk

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot ensure its Entry Reconciliation Program reporting is accurate or complies with requirements.  Specifically, CBP did not always validate importers’ self-reported final values of imports when it assessed duties and fees because it did not require importers to substantiate self-reported merchandise values with source documentation.  In addition, CBP did not always follow its policies when conducting reviews of reconciliation entries because its Standard Operating Procedures had been implemented differently across all ports of entry.  Finally, CBP missed opportunities to collect additional revenue when it did not assess monetary liquidated damages for importers that filed reconciliation entries late or not at all.  This occurred because CBP’s controls were insufficient to ensure the ports properly assess liquidated damages for importers who file reconciliations late or not at all.  CBP’s actions compromised the integrity of the Entry Reconciliation Program and, as such, may have put approximately $751 million of revenue, in the form of reconciliation refunds, at risk.  We made four recommendations to improve the overall effectiveness of the program.  CBP concurred with three of our four recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-79
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • CBP Did Not Adequately Oversee FY 2019 Appropriated Humanitarian Funding

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) quickly deployed funding for consumables and medical services to address the needs of migrants in its custody along the southwest border, but did not adequately plan to ensure it used fiscal year 2019 funds effectively.  Specifically, U.S. Border Patrol’s process did not adequately ensure taxpayer funds were used to purchase items required to meet migrants’ basic needs as Congress intended.  Additionally, CBP relied on a single contracting officer’s representative, rather than onsite personnel, to oversee its medical contract because it did not include onsite monitoring when expanding the contract across multiple sectors.  We made four recommendations to CBP to improve its consumables reimbursement process and medical contract oversight.  CBP concurred with all four recommendations.  

    Report Number
    OIG-20-78
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Review of CBP's Major Cybersecurity Incident During a 2019 Biometric Pilot

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not adequately safeguard sensitive data on an unencrypted device used during its facial recognition technology pilot (known as the Vehicle Face System).  A subcontractor working on this effort, Perceptics, LLC, transferred copies of CBP’s biometric data, such as traveler images, to its own company network.  The subcontractor obtained access to this data without CBP’s authorization or knowledge, and compromised approximately 184,000 traveler images from CBP’s facial recognition pilot.  Later in 2019, the Department of Homeland Security experienced a major privacy incident, as the subcontractor’s network was subjected to a malicious cyber attack.  While CBP and DHS took immediate action to mitigate the data breach, we attribute this incident to the subcontractor violating numerous DHS security and privacy protocols for safeguarding sensitive data.  Consequently, this incident may damage the public’s trust in the Government’s ability to safeguard biometric data, and may result in travelers’ reluctance to permit DHS to capture and use their biometrics at U.S. ports of entry.  We made three recommendations to aid CBP in addressing the vulnerabilities that caused the 2019 data breach, and to better mitigate future incidents through greater oversight of third-party partners.  CBP concurred with all three recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-71
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Early Experiences with COVID-19 at Border Patrol Stations and OFO Ports of Entry

    Executive Summary

    We surveyed staff at Border Patrol stations and OFO ports of entry from April 22, 2020 to May 1, 2020.  The 136 Border Patrol stations and 307 OFO ports of entry that responded to our survey described various actions they have taken to prevent and mitigate the pandemic’s spread among travelers, detained individuals, and staff.  These actions include increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas, and having personal protective equipment for staff, as well as supplies available to those individuals with whom they come into contact.  However, facilities reported concerns with their inability to practice social distancing and the risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to the close-contact nature of their work.  Regarding staffing, facilities reported decreases in current staff availability due to COVID-19, but have contingency plans in place to ensure continued operations.  The facilities expressed concerns regarding staff availability, however, if there were an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility.  Overall, the majority of respondents reported that their facilities were prepared to address COVID-19.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-69
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
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