This report offers DHS OIG’s initial observations on the PACR and HARP programs based on our March 2020 visit to the El Paso, Texas area and analysis of data and information provided by CBP and USCIS headquarters. We determined that CBP rapidly implemented the pilot programs and expanded them without a full evaluation of the pilots’ effectiveness. Additionally, we determined there are potential challenges with the PACR and HARP programs related to how aliens are held and provided access to counsel and representation, and how CBP and USCIS assign staff to program duties and track aliens in the various agency systems. We made six recommendations to improve PACR and HARP program implementation. DHS did not concur with five of the six recommendations, stating that lawsuits and the COVID-19 pandemic had, in effect, ended the programs. We reviewed evidence provided by CBP and concluded the lawsuits themselves did not terminate the PACR and HARP pilot programs. Therefore, the recommendations remain open and unresolved. If the programs resume, we plan to resume actual or virtual site visits and issue a report detailing DHS’ full implementation of the PACR and HARP pilot programs.
Consistent with CDC guidance, most Office of Inspector General employees are currently serving the American people remotely. We are determined to keep interruptions to our operations to a minimum, and we appreciate your patience during this time.
Information and guidance about COVID-19 is available at coronavirus.gov.
- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-21-16Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2021
Five Laredo and San Antonio Area CBP Facilities Generally Complied with the National Standards on Transport, Escort, Detention, and SearchExecutive Summary
During our unannounced inspections of five U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities in the Laredo and San Antonio areas of Texas in February 2020, three Border Patrol stations and two Office of Field Operation ports of entry we visited appeared to be operating in compliance with the Transport, Escort, Detention, and Search (TEDS) standards we evaluated. We verified accessibility to water, food, toilets, sinks, basic hygiene supplies, and bedding. We observed clean facilities and verified that temperatures and ventilation in holding rooms were appropriate. Of the five facilities we visited, only one could provide on-site showers to detainees, but during our visits, no detainees were approaching the detention time threshold where a shower would be required. Because Border Patrol leadership directed all Border Patrol stations to implement Phase 2 of the enhanced medical screening ahead of the prescribed schedule outlined in CBP Directive 2100-004, the Border Patrol stations we visited were conducting alien intake health assessments using CBP Form 2500. These Ports of Entry had implemented Phase 1, but were not yet required to conduct Phase 2 assessments at the time of our inspection. We did not make any recommendations in this report.Report NumberOIG-20-67Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
We determined that the city of Houston has adequate policies, procedures, and business practices that comply with Federal procurement regulations and FEMA guidelines to expend FEMA grant funds. We found Houston may have inappropriately included the $73.8 million cost of Houston First Corporation’s (Houston First) disaster damages in its damage estimate, even though it was not an eligible applicant for them. We did not examine procurement policies and procedures related to Houston First because the entity was outside the scope of our audit. During the audit, FEMA acknowledged it would reiterate in writing to the City of Houston the importance of proper oversight for all procurements executed by Houston First. This report contains no recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-49Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
Harris County, Texas, Needs Continued Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Proper Management of Its FEMA GrantExecutive Summary
Harris County, Texas needs additional technical assistance and monitoring to ensure grants management comply with Federal procurement regulations. The County’s procurement policies, procedures, and business practices were not adequate to expend disaster grant funds in accordance with Federal procurement regulations and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidelines. We recommended FEMA disallow $2.7 million in ineligible costs and require Texas to work with the County to incorporate Federal procurement regulations when using Federal funds, and review procurement activities before the County awards future contracts. We made three recommendations that will help improve the procurement capability of Harris County, Texas. FEMA concurred with all three recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-27Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not balance its Manufactured Housing Unit (MHU) program costs with disaster-related housing needs. In response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, FEMA overestimated the number of MHUs it needed by nearly 2,600, which amounted to purchase, transportation, and storage costs of at least $152 million. The agency also overestimated the number of tank and pump systems (TPS) it needed to operate the fire sprinklers, by nearly 2,400, which amounted to purchase and transportation costs of approximately $29 million. Following Hurricane Harvey, FEMA focused on providing prompt assistance and did not emphasize financial accountability and recordkeeping. Had FEMA better managed and overseen the MHU program, it could have put an estimated $182 million to better use to assist survivors from Hurricane Harvey or other disasters. We made four recommendations that will help FEMA better manage its MHU program. FEMA concurred with the recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-15Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
Aransas County, Texas, Needs Continued Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Proper Management of Its FEMA GrantExecutive Summary
Aransas County’s procurement policies and procedures are not adequate to meet minimum Federal procurement regulations or address key procurement elements despite guidance and contacts with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management (Texas). We recommended the Regional Administrator, FEMA Region VI, require Texas to continue providing additional technical assistance and monitoring to the County, and provide to DHS OIG documentation supporting FEMA’s actions to that end. FEMA officials agreed with both recommendations. Prior to final issuance of this report, FEMA took action to resolve and close both recommendations. No further action is required.Report NumberOIG-20-12Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
Refugio County, Texas, Has Implemented Adequate Procurement Policies, Procedures, and Business Practices to Manage Its FEMA GrantExecutive Summary
We verified that Refugio County, Texas awarded contracts that complied with Federal procurement regulations and FEMA guidelines. We determined that the County initially did not have written procurement policies to comply with all Federal procurement regulations. Instead, for purchases and contracting, County officials said they followed Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 262. In response to our audit, the County adopted written procurement procedures to comply with Federal requirements. The report contains no recommendations. FEMA did not submit a formal response to our draft report, but informally replied that it did not identify any issues requiring further action by FEMA.Report NumberOIG-20-08Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
Management Alert - DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding Among Single Adults at El Paso Del Norte Processing CenterExecutive Summary
According to CBP statistics, the number of southwest border migrant apprehensions during the first seven months of FY 2019 has in general already surpassed that of the total apprehensions for each of the previous four fiscal years. At the sector level, El Paso has experienced the sharpest increase in apprehensions when comparing the first seven months of FY 2019 to the same period in FY 2018. The purpose is to notify you of urgent issues that require immediate attention and action. Specifically, we are recommending that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center (PDT).Report NumberOIG-19-46Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaFiscal Year2019
Management Alert - FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors' Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (REDACTED)Executive Summary
Through the TSA program, FEMA provides transitional sheltering in hotels to disaster survivors displaced by emergencies or major disasters. TSA reduces the number of survivors in congregate emergency shelters by providing hotel lodging. During our ongoing audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, we determined that FEMA violated the Privacy Act of 19741 and Department of Homeland Security policy2 by releasing to the PII and SPII of 2.3 million survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017.3Report NumberOIG-19-32Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2019
- Executive Summary
In December 2014, OIG previously reported on the effectiveness and cost of the UAS program.2 Our report disclosed CBP had not developed performance measures needed to accurately assess program effectiveness and make informed decisions. CBP also did not recognize all UAS operating costs and, as such, the Congress and public may be unaware of the amount of resources invested in the program. This audit determined that CBP has not ensured effective safeguards for surveillance information, such as images and video, collected on and transmitted from its UAS. Without a privacy assessment, CBP could not determine whether ISR Systems contained data requiring safeguards per privacy laws, regulations, and DHS policy. CBP’s failure to implement adequate security controls according to Federal and DHS policy could result in potential loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ISR Systems and its operations.Report NumberOIG-18-79Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaFiscal Year2018