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CBP

  • CBP Continues to Experience Challenges Managing Searches of Electronic Devices at Ports of Entry - Law Enforcement Sensitive (REDACTED)

    Executive Summary

    Summary: OFO continues to experience challenges managing searches of electronic devices, similar to those identified in our first audit report, CBP’s Searches of Electronic Devices at Ports of Entry, issued in December 2018.  Specifically, OFO did not properly document and conduct searches of electronic devices, fully assess the effectiveness of the electronic device search program, or adequately manage electronic device search equipment.  This occurred because, although it plans to do so, OFO has not yet fully implemented corrective actions for four of the five recommendations in our previous audit report, including establishing training for staff.  According to an OFO official, there have been delays in fully implementing the prior recommendations due to reviews of existing policy and a capabilities analysis report, and development of additional training.  In addition, OFO does not have adequate processes for auditing electronic device searches, does not track prosecutions and convictions resulting from referrals to other Federal agencies, and does not adequately monitor search equipment usage, functionality, and inventory.  Unless it corrects previously identified deficiencies and better manages searches and equipment, OFO will limit its ability to detect and deter illegal activities related to terrorism; national security; human, drug, and bulk cash smuggling; and child pornography.  We made five recommendations to improve CBP’s oversight of searches of electronic devices at ports of entry.  CBP concurred with all five recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-63
    Issue Date
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • CBP Targeted Americans Associated with the 2018-2019 Migrant Caravan

    Executive Summary

    CBP officials had legitimate reasons for placing lookouts on American journalists, attorneys, and others suspected of organizing or being associated with the migrant caravan.  However, many CBP officials were unaware of CBP’s policy related to placing lookouts and, therefore, may have inadvertently placed lookouts on these Americans, which did not fully comport with the policy.  Additionally, CBP officials did not remove lookouts promptly once they were no longer necessary and, as a result, subjected some of these U.S. citizens to repeated and unnecessary secondary inspections.  During the same time period, a CBP official requested that Mexico deny entry to caravan associates, including 14 Americans.  Unlike CBP’s legitimate reasons for placing lookouts on these U.S. citizens, CBP had no genuine basis for requesting Mexico to deny entry to these individuals.  On several other occasions throughout Operation Secure Line, other CBP officials also improperly shared the names and sensitive information of U.S. citizens with Mexico.  We made six recommendations that will improve CBP’s controls on placing and removing lookouts and sharing Americans’ sensitive information with foreign countries.  CBP concurred with all six recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-62
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • DHS Needs to Enhance Its COVID-19 Response at the Southwest Border

    Executive Summary

    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.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-60
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Acquisition Management of Aviation Fleet Needs Improvement to Meet Operational Needs

    Executive Summary

    CBP did not effectively manage its aviation fleet acquisitions to meet operational mission needs.  Specifically, AMO acquired and deployed 16 multi-role enforcement aircraft (MEA) that did not contain the necessary air and land interdiction capabilities to perform its mission.  In addition, CBP AMO initiated the MEA and medium lift helicopter program without well-defined operational requirements and key performance parameters — critical items in the acquisition planning process.  This occurred because CBP did not provide oversight and guidance to ensure acquisition personnel followed key steps required by the DHS Acquisition Lifecycle Framework.  As a result, AMO expended approximately $330 million procuring multi-role enforcement aircraft that, at the time of acceptance, did not effectively respond to emergent air threats along the northern or southern borders, and experienced schedule delays deploying the medium lift helicopter.  Without effective oversight and guidance, AMO risks aviation acquisitions taking longer to deliver, at a greater cost, and without the needed capabilities.  We made four recommendations aimed at improving CBP’s acquisition management of aviation fleet to meet operational needs.  CBP concurred with three of the four recommendations. 

    Report Number
    OIG-21-53
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • Review of the February 16, 2020 Childbirth at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station

    Executive Summary

    We found Border Patrol provided adequate medical assistance to the mother and her newborn, and complied with applicable policies. However, we found that Border Patrol’s data about pregnant detainees is limited and the agency lacks the necessary processes and guidance to reliably track childbirths that occur in custody. In addition, our review of a sample of childbirths in custody showed Border Patrol did not always take prompt action to expedite the release of U.S. citizen newborns, resulting in some being held in stations for multiple days and nights. Although some of these instances may have been unavoidable, Border Patrol needs reliable practices to expedite releases because holding U.S. citizen newborns at Border Patrol stations poses health, safety, and legal concerns. Lastly, we found that Border Patrol agents do not have guidelines on interpreting for Spanish-speaking detainees at hospitals. As a result, an agent assigned to hospital watch for the detainee provided interpretation that may not have comported with CBP’s language access guidance. We made four recommendations to improve CBP’s processes for tracking detainee childbirths, its practices for expediting release of U.S. citizen newborns, and its guidance to agents on providing interpretation for detainees. CBP concurred with all four recommendations

    Report Number
    OIG-21-49
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • CBP Needs to Strengthen Its Oversight and Policy to Better Care for Migrants Needing Medical Attention

    Executive Summary

    CBP needs better oversight and policy to adequately safeguard migrants experiencing medical emergencies or illnesses along the southwest border.  According to CBP’s policies, once an individual is in custody, CBP agents and officers are required to conduct health interviews, and “regular and frequent” “welfare checks” to identify individuals who may be experiencing serious medical conditions.  However, CBP could not always demonstrate staff conducted required medical screenings or consistent welfare checks for all 98 individuals whose medical cases we reviewed.  This occurred because CBP did not provide sufficient oversight and clear policies and procedures, or ensure officers and agents were adequately trained to implement medical support policies.  As a result, CBP may not identify individuals experiencing medical emergencies or provide appropriate care in a timely manner.  CBP concurred with all three of our recommendations, which when implemented, should improve medical attention and procedures for migrants at the southwest border. 

    Report Number
    OIG-21-48
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • Persistent Data Issues Hinder DHS Mission, Programs, and Operations

    Executive Summary

    We determined that DHS needs to improve the collection and management of data across its multiple components to better serve and safeguard the public.  The data access, availability, accuracy, completeness, and relevance issues we identified presented numerous obstacles for DHS personnel who did not have essential information they needed for decision making or to effectively and efficiently carry out day-to-day mission operations.  Although DHS has improved its information security program and developed plans to improve quality and management of its data, follow through and continued improvement will be essential to address the internal control issues underlying the data deficiencies highlighted in the report.  We made no recommendations in the summary report.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-37
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • ICE Did Not Consistently Provide Separated Migrant Parents the Opportunity to Bring Their Children upon Removal

    Executive 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 Number
    OIG-21-36
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • DHS Law Enforcement Components Did Not Consistently Collect DNA from Arrestees

    Executive Summary

    We determined DHS law enforcement components did not consistently collect DNA from arrestees as required.  Of the five DHS law enforcement components we reviewed that are subject to these DNA collection requirements, only Secret Service consistently collected DNA from arrestees.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Protective Service inconsistently collected DNA, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) collected no DNA.  DHS did not adequately oversee its law enforcement components to ensure they properly implemented DNA collection.  Based on our analysis, we project the DHS law enforcement components we audited did not collect DNA for about 212,646, or 88 percent, of the 241,753 arrestees from fiscal years 2018 and 2019.  Without all DHS arrestees’ DNA samples in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s criminal database, law enforcement likely missed opportunities to receive investigative leads based on DNA matches.  Additionally, DHS did not benefit from a unity of effort, such as sharing and leveraging processes, data collection, and best practices across components.  We recommended DHS oversee and guide its law enforcement components to ensure they comply with collection requirements.  DHS concurred with all four of our recommend.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-35
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021
  • CBP Senior Leaders' Handling of Social Media Misconduct

    Executive Summary

    We determined that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Border Patrol headquarters officials were only aware of a few of the 83 CBP employees’ cases of social media misconduct.  CBP and Border Patrol senior officials only responded to one of those cases, upon direction from DHS.  In contrast, the senior Office of Field Operations (OFO) headquarters leader issued guidance to remind OFO employees of acceptable use of social media.  With regard to the posts media outlets published in July 2019, we found no evidence that senior CBP headquarters or field leaders were aware of them until they were made public by the media.  We also found some senior leaders questioned the legality or the application of CBP policies, which may undermine CBP’s ability to enforce the policies.  We made two recommendations to help reduce the incidence of social media misconduct.  First, we recommended the Commissioner ensures CBP uniformly applies social media misconduct policies, and establishes social media training for new recruits and annual refresher training for all employees.  CBP concurred with all recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-34
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2021