U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not conduct COVID-19 testing for migrants who enter CBP custody and is not required to do so. Instead, CBP relies on local public health systems to test symptomatic individuals. According to CBP officials, as a frontline law enforcement agency, it does not have the necessary resources to conduct such testing. For migrants that are transferred or released from CBP custody into the United States, CBP coordinates with DHS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other Federal, state, and local partners for COVID-19 testing of migrants. In addition, although DHS generally follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for COVID-19 preventative measures, the DHS’ multi-layered COVID-19 testing framework does not require CBP to conduct COVID-19 testing at CBP facilities. Further, DHS’ Chief Medical Officer does not have the authority to direct or enforce COVID-19 testing procedures. We recommended DHS reassess its COVID-19 response framework to identify areas for improvement to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while balancing its primary mission of securing the border. Additionally, we recommended DHS ensure the components continue to coordinate with the DHS Chief Medical Officer and provide available resources needed to operate safely and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic and any future public health crisis. We made two recommendations to improve DHS’ response to COVID-19 at the southwest border. DHS concurred with both recommendations.
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-21-60Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2021
ICE Did Not Consistently Provide Separated Migrant Parents the Opportunity to Bring Their Children upon RemovalExecutive Summary
We determined that before July 12, 2018, migrant parents did not consistently have the opportunity to reunify with their children before removal. Although DHS and ICE have claimed that parents removed without their children chose to leave them behind, there was no policy or standard process requiring ICE officers to ascertain, document, or honor parents’ decisions regarding their children. As a result, from the time the Government began increasing criminal prosecutions in July 2017, ICE removed at least 348 separated parents without documenting whether those parents wanted to leave their children in the United States. In fact, ICE removed some parents without their children despite having evidence the parents wanted to bring their children back to their home country. In addition, we found that some ICE records purportedly documenting migrant parents’ decisions to leave their children in the United States were significantly flawed. We made two recommendation that will ensure ICE documents separated migrant parents’ decisions regarding their minor children upon removal from the United States, and develops a process to share information with Government officials to contact parents for whom ICE lacks documentation on reunification preferences. ICE concurred with our recommendations.Report NumberOIG-21-36Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyKeywordsFiscal Year2021
- Executive Summary
Based on our recent and prior audits, inspections, special reviews, and investigations, we consider the most serious management and performance challenges currently facing DHS to be: (1) Managing Programs and Operations Effectively and Efficiently during times of Changes in Leadership, Vacancies, Hiring Difficulties; (2) Coordinating Efforts to Address the Sharp Increase in Migrants Seeking to Enter the United States through our Southern Border; (3) Ensuring Cybersecurity in an Age When Confidentiality, Integrity, and the Availability of Information Technology Are Essential to Mission Operations; (4) Ensuring Proper Financial Planning, Payments, and Internal Controls; and (5) Improving FEMA’s Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts. Addressing and overcoming these challenges requires firm leadership; targeted resources; and a commitment to mastering management fundamentals, data collection and dissemination, cost-benefit/risk analysis, and performance measurement.Report NumberOIG-20-02Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2020