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California

  • Investigation of Alleged Violations of Immigration Laws at the Tecate, California, Port of Entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Personnel (Redacted)

    Executive Summary

    We investigated three allegations of possible violations of immigration law at the Tecate, California, Port of Entry that were referred to DHS by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). We substantiated, in whole or in part, each of the three factual allegations. First, we found that contrary to Federal law and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy, CBP officials at Tecate returned some asylum applicants from inside the United States back to Mexico and instructed those individuals to go to other ports of entry to make their asylum claims. However, we did not substantiate the allegation that managers instructed officers to do this or that it was the Port’s standard practice. Second, we found that Tecate and other ports of entry use a practice known as “metering” or “queue management” to prevent overcrowding at the ports. We identified three concerns with how CBP implemented this practice at Tecate, including that the Port generally refers most asylum seekers to go to other ports, despite representing Tecate as open to “all travelers.” Finally, we found that Tecate officials do not create records when they instruct individuals to go to other ports to make their asylum claims.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-65
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Additional Controls Needed to Better Manage FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program

    Executive Summary

    This interim report is part of an ongoing audit to determine the extent FEMA is meeting disaster survivors’ transitional shelter needs after the California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. We determined that FEMA does not require disaster survivors to notify the agency when they vacate hotels participating in the TSA program, thus allowing the hotels to continue to bill FEMA for unoccupied rooms. Because FEMA is unaware when disaster survivors vacate the hotels, the agency does not know the magnitude of unnecessary hotel charges. Consequently, FEMA could not account for associated TSA payments it may have paid since August 2017, related to the 2017 hurricane season and California wildfires.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-37
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Management Alert - FEMA Did Not Safeguard Disaster Survivors' Sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (REDACTED)

    Executive Summary

    Through the TSA program, FEMA provides transitional sheltering in hotels to disaster survivors displaced by emergencies or major disasters. TSA reduces the number of survivors in congregate emergency shelters by providing hotel lodging. During our ongoing audit of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, we determined that FEMA violated the Privacy Act of 19741 and Department of Homeland Security policy2 by releasing to the PII and SPII of 2.3 million survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017.3

    Report Number
    OIG-19-32
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Management Alert - Issues Requiring Action at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, California

    Executive Summary

    We identified a number of serious issues that violate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards and pose significant health and safety risks at the facility.  Specifically, we are concerned about nooses in detainee cells, improper and overly restrictive segregation, and untimely and inadequate detainee medical care.  We recommended that ICE conduct a full review and inspection of the Adelanto ICE Processing Center and the GEO Group’s management of the center to immediately to ensure compliance with ICE’s 2011 Performance-Based National Detention Standards.  Specifically, ICE must review and ensure compliance with: Personal Care Required; Segregation; and Medical Care.  We made one recommendation to improve conditions at the facility.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-86
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • CBP Has Not Ensured Safeguards for Data Collected Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems

    Executive Summary

    In December 2014, OIG previously reported on the effectiveness and cost of the UAS program.2 Our report disclosed CBP had not developed performance measures needed to accurately assess program effectiveness and make informed decisions. CBP also did not recognize all UAS operating costs and, as such, the Congress and public may be unaware of the amount of resources invested in the program. This audit determined that CBP has not ensured effective safeguards for surveillance information, such as images and video, collected on and transmitted from its UAS. Without a privacy assessment, CBP could not determine whether ISR Systems contained data requiring safeguards per privacy laws, regulations, and DHS policy. CBP’s failure to implement adequate security controls according to Federal and DHS policy could result in potential loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ISR Systems and its operations.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-79
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • USCIS' Medical Admissibility Screening Process Needs Improvement

    Executive Summary

    USCIS has inadequate controls for verifying that foreign nationals seeking lawful permanent residence status meet health-related standards for admissibility. First, USCIS is not properly vetting the physicians it designates as civil surgeons. We determined that USCIS designated physicians with a history of patient abuse or a criminal record as civil surgeons. This is occurring because USCIS does not have adequate policies to ensure only suitable physicians are designated as civil surgeons. Second, when reviewing these foreign nationals’ required medical forms, ISOs are accepting incomplete and inaccurate forms because they are not adequately trained and because USCIS is not enforcing its existing policies. USCIS may be placing foreign nationals at risk of abuse by some civil surgeons. USCIS could also be exposing the U.S. population to contagious or dangerous health conditions from foreign nationals erroneously granted lawful permanent resident status.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-78
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Special Report: Lessons Learned from Previous Audit Reports Related to California's Practice of Managing Public Assistance Grant Funds

    Executive Summary

    FEMA needs to continue providing technical assistance to and monitoring of California’s Public Assistance grant funding management.  This helps avoid the risk of exposing millions of taxpayer dollars to fraud, waste, or mismanagement and violating the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. In doing so, FEMA can assist California in providing reasonable, but not absolute assurance that Public Assistance subgrant funds are spent in accordance with Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-74
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, California, Provided FEMA Incorrect Information for Its $33 Million Project

    Executive Summary

    The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, through its main engineering contractor (Contractor C), presented incorrect data and misinformed FEMA in obtaining a Federal grant of more than $33 million for its pipeline replacement and relocation project. Authority officials wanted to move the pipeline outside of the Mojave Riverbed, but noted the high cost to do so. Authority officials knew that replacing and relocating the pipeline was the most expensive repair option, as their Contractors A and C informed them. However, through Contractor C, Authority officials repeatedly provided FEMA incorrect data that made Alternative 2 appear to be the least expensive. Based on the incorrect information Authority officials provided, FEMA funded $11 million for the replacement and relocation project in 2013 and an additional $22 million in 2014, a total of $33 million. We question the entire $33 million as ineligible because the Authority did not comply with Federal regulations, and FEMA policies and procedures, in preparing cost estimates for FEMA.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-62
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Lessons Learned from Prior Reports on Disaster-related Procurement and Contracting

    Executive Summary

    This is a Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General (OIG) special report on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and FEMA recipient and sub recipient disaster-related procurements. FEMA is currently responding to some of the most catastrophic disasters in U.S. history — Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the October 2017, California wildfires. Because of the massive scale of damage and the large number and high-dollar contracts that will likely be awarded, there is a significant risk that billions of taxpayer dollars may be exposed to waste, fraud, and abuse.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-29
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Solano County, California, Has Policies, Procedures, and Business Practices to Manage Its FEMA Grant Funding

    Executive Summary

    Severe winter storms, flooding, and mudslides during January and February 2017 caused significant damage to Solano County, California (County). County officials estimate damages at $1.6 million. Based on our limited testing, the County appears to have in place policies, procedures, and business practices to generally account for and expend FEMA Public Assistance grant funds according to Federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. The County should be able to account for disaster-related costs on a project-by-project basis and adequately support these costs.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-26
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
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