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.
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- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-20-78Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2020
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
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Compliance with Use of Force Policy for Incidents on November 25, 2018 and January 1, 2019 - Law Enforcement SensitiveExecutive Summary
We determined CBP’s use of tear gas on these dates, in response to physical threats, appeared to be within CBP’s use of force policy. However, U.S. Border Patrol obtained an acoustic device and used it in an “alert tone” mode on November 25, 2018, which did not conform to CBP’s Use of Force policy because Border Patrol did not get advance authorization to have a device with this capability. CBP’s Use of Force policy would have permitted use of the alert tone in a manner reasonable and necessary for self-defense or the defense of another person in threatening, emergent situations. However, the policy does not authorize the carrying of any weapon for duty use that is not authorized, included on the Authorized Equipment List, or specifically approved by the LESC director. Using the acoustic device in alert mode may increase the risk of temporary or permanent hearing loss to those exposed to the sound and thereby increase the Government’s liability. CBP’s own internal investigation of the November 25, 2018 incident regarding the acoustic device was incomplete and inaccurate and did not provide all the information CBP needed to determine whether the CBP officer and Border Patrol agents involved had complied with the use of force policy. In addition, not all Border Patrol agents had the required training and certification to carry less-lethal devices. This occurred because Border Patrol lacked internal controls to ensure agents had fulfilled these requirements. Border Patrol agents using less-lethal devices for which they are not certified could result in unintended serious injury or death, increasing the Government’s liability. We made four recommendations to CBP to ensure compliance with its Use of Force policy and improve its investigative process. CBP concurred with all four recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-64Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2020
- Executive Summary
During 2019, there was a surge in Southwest Border crossings between ports of entry, resulting in 851,508 Border Patrol apprehensions and contributing to what senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials described as an “unprecedented border security and humanitarian crisis.” Our unannounced inspections revealed that, under these challenging circumstances, CBP struggled to meet detention standards. Specifically, several Border Patrol stations we visited exceeded their maximum capacity. Although Border Patrol established temporary holding facilities to alleviate overcrowding, it struggled to limit detention to the 72 hours generally permitted, as options for transferring detainees out of CBP custody to long-term facilities were limited. Also, even after deploying medical professionals to more efficiently provide access to medical care, overcrowding made it difficult for the Border Patrol to manage contagious illnesses. Finally, in some locations, Border Patrol did not meet certain standards for detainee care, such as offering children access to telephone calls and safeguarding detainee property. In contrast to Border Patrol, which could not control apprehensions, CBP’s ports of entry could limit detainee access, and generally met applicable detention standards. Supplementing a May 2019 Management Alert recommendation, we made two additional recommendations regarding access of unaccompanied alien children to telephones and proper handling of detainee property. CBP concurred with the recommendations.Report NumberOIG-20-38Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal 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
- Executive Summary
Within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Border Patrol agents are responsible for patrolling our international land borders and coastal waters surrounding Florida and Puerto Rico. We conducted this audit to determine to what extent Border Patrol agents meet workload requirements related to investigative and law enforcement activities. Border Patrol needs to manage its workforce more efficiently, effectively, and economically. CBP and Border Patrol must expedite the development and implementation of a workforce staffing model for Border Patrol as required by Congress. Without a complete workforce staffing model, Border Patrol senior managers are unable to definitively determine the operational needs for, or best placement of, the 5,000 additional agents DHS was directed to hire per the January 2017 Executive Order.Report NumberOIG-19-23Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2019
- Executive Summary
On January 25, 2017, the President issued two Executive Orders directing the Department of Homeland Security to hire an additional 15,000 law enforcement officers. We conducted this audit to determine whether the Department and its components — specifically FLETC, USBP, and ICE — have the training strategies and capabilities in place to train 15,000 new agents and officers. Prior to the start of the hiring surge, FLETC’s capacity is already overextended. FLETC is not only responsible for accommodating the anticipated Department hiring surge, but also for an expected increase in demand from other Partner Organizations. Despite observing ongoing work in the development of hiring surge training plans and strategies, challenges exist due to uncertain funding commitments and current training conditions. Absent remedial action, these challenges may impede consistency and lead to a degradation in training and standards. As a result, trainees will be less prepared for their assigned field environment, potentially impeding mission achievability and increasing safety risk to themselves, other law enforcement officers, and anyone within their enforcement authority.Report NumberOIG-19-07Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2019