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
- Executive Summary
We determined that DHS’ Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) BioWatch has information sharing challenges that reduce nationwide readiness to respond to biological terrorism threats. We made four recommendations that, when implemented, will improve BioWatch. CWMD concurred with all four recommendations.Report NumberOIG-21-22Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2021
DHS Is Not Coordinating the Department's Efforts to Defend the Nation's Food, Agriculture, and Veterinary Systems against TerrorismExecutive Summary
According to the Securing Our Agriculture and Food Act (SAFA), the program should provide oversight, lead policy initiatives, and coordinate with DHS components and Federal agencies. However, the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) has not yet carried out a program to meet SAFA’s requirements. This occurred because CWMD believes it does not have clearly defined authority from the Secretary to carry out the requirements of the SAFA. In addition, since its establishment in December 2017, CWMD has not prioritized SAFA requirements but instead has focused its resources on other mission areas. As a result, CWMD has limited awareness of DHS’ ongoing efforts and cannot ensure it is adequately prepared to respond to a terrorist attack against the Nation’s food, agriculture, or veterinary systems. We made three recommendations to DHS’ CWMD to improve oversight, policy initiatives, and coordination of the Department’s efforts to protect the Nation’s food, agriculture, and veterinary systems.Report NumberOIG-20-53Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyKeywordsFiscal Year2020
DHS Should Seek a Unified Approach when Purchasing and Using Handheld Chemical Identification DevicesExecutive Summary
DHS does not have a unified approach for procuring and using handheld chemical identification devices despite the widespread use of these devices across multiple components. We recommended DHS establish a process to coordinate joint needs across components and maximize savings from strategic sourcing opportunities. We made two recommendations that should help improve unity of effort in procuring and using handheld chemical identification devices. DHS concurred with recommendation 1 but did not concur with recommendation 2.Report NumberOIG-20-16Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2020