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Texas

  • Harris County, Texas, Needs Continued Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Proper Management of Its FEMA Grant

    Executive 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 Number
    OIG-20-27
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • FEMA Purchased More Manufactured Housing Units Than It Needed in Texas After Hurricane Harvey

    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 Number
    OIG-20-15
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Aransas County, Texas, Needs Continued Assistance and Monitoring to Ensure Proper Management of Its FEMA Grant

    Executive 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 Number
    OIG-20-12
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Refugio County, Texas, Has Implemented Adequate Procurement Policies, Procedures, and Business Practices to Manage Its FEMA Grant

    Executive 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 Number
    OIG-20-08
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Management Alert - DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding Among Single Adults at El Paso Del Norte Processing Center

    Executive 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 Number
    OIG-19-46
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • 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 2017.3

    Report Number
    OIG-19-32
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • CBP Has Not Ensured Safeguards for Data Collected Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems

    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 Number
    OIG-18-79
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • USCIS' Medical Admissibility Screening Process Needs Improvement

    Executive Summary

    USCIS has inadequate controls for verifying that foreign nationals seeking lawful permanent residence status meet health-related standards for admissibility. First, USCIS is not properly vetting the physicians it designates as civil surgeons. We determined that USCIS designated physicians with a history of patient abuse or a criminal record as civil surgeons. This is occurring because USCIS does not have adequate policies to ensure only suitable physicians are designated as civil surgeons. Second, when reviewing these foreign nationals’ required medical forms, ISOs are accepting incomplete and inaccurate forms because they are not adequately trained and because USCIS is not enforcing its existing policies. USCIS may be placing foreign nationals at risk of abuse by some civil surgeons. USCIS could also be exposing the U.S. population to contagious or dangerous health conditions from foreign nationals erroneously granted lawful permanent resident status.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-78
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Summary and Key Findings of Fiscal Year 2017 FEMA Disaster Grant and Program Audits

    Executive Summary

    Collectively, our FY 2017 work shows that FEMA continues to face systemic problems and operational challenges, as the variety of findings summarized in this report illustrates In FY 2017, FEMA did not manage disaster relief grants and funds adequately and did not hold grant recipients accountable for properly managing disaster relief funds. We continue to identify problems such as improper contract costs, and ineligible and unsupported expenditures.

    In FY 2017, we identified $2.08 billion in questioned costs, which represents 96 percent of the $2.16 billion audited.2 We issued 37 reports concerning FEMA grants, programs, and operations funded by the DRF. Specifically, we conducted 16 grant audits, 13 proactive audits, and 8 program audits. In the last 9 fiscal years, we audited grant funds totaling $13.75 billion and reported potential monetary benefits of $6.55 billion.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-75
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Management Alert - FEMA Faces Significant Challenges Ensuring Recipients Properly Manage Disaster Funds

    Executive Summary

    Because of the high dollar amount in disaster funds likely awarded and the history of audit questioned costs for FEMA disaster funds, FEMA’s inadequate grant management poses a significant risk to taxpayer dollars. We identified issues in our previous reports that demonstrate FEMA’s ongoing issues with ensuring disaster grant recipients and subrecipients comply with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. Specifically, FEMA faces significant challenges in ensuring its grant recipients properly manage FEMA disaster funds. This alert highlights the significant deficiencies with FEMA’s internal controls and its lack of enforcement of Federal requirements. As FEMA moves forward with its recovery efforts, it must hold recipients accountable for proper grant management. FEMA must implement and use effective controls to overcome existing problems with managing and monitoring funds for disaster response and recovery.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-33
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
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