CBP Generally Provided Accurate Notices to Appear to Migrant Protection Protocols Enrollees, but Could Improve Procedures to Reduce Future Errors
DHS issued notices to appear (NTA), to MPP participants that were mostly accurate and in accordance with laws and regulations. However, some NTAs were completed inaccurately. Specifically, of our sample of 106 NTAs from February 2019 through April 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) served 20 that did not meet legal sufficiency standards or contained inaccurate information. However, CBP agents and officers documented proactively issuing 105 of 106 NTAs in our sample in person before returning migrants to Mexico. If CBP serves a legally insufficient NTA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cannot prosecute its removal case if a migrant fails to appear for the initial hearing. Serving NTAs by mail to migrants in Mexico could result in migrants missing their hearings or the Government’s cases being dismissed or challenged. We recommended that CBP’s Executive Director of the Office of Field Operations’ Admissibility and Passenger Programs and the Deputy Chief of Border Patrol’s Law Enforcement Operations Directorate develop procedures for quality control and supervisory review of NTAs for MPP enrollees to better ensure that officers and agents fill out the NTAs accurately and completely. We made one recommendation to improve the accuracy and completeness of NTAs issued to MPP participants. CBP non-concurred with the recommendation due to it being overcome by events when the program was terminated by the Secretary of Homeland Security on June 1, 2021. We administratively closed the recommendation.