This report offers DHS OIG’s initial observations on the PACR and HARP programs based on our March 2020 visit to the El Paso, Texas area and analysis of data and information provided by CBP and USCIS headquarters. We determined that CBP rapidly implemented the pilot programs and expanded them without a full evaluation of the pilots’ effectiveness. Additionally, we determined there are potential challenges with the PACR and HARP programs related to how aliens are held and provided access to counsel and representation, and how CBP and USCIS assign staff to program duties and track aliens in the various agency systems. We made six recommendations to improve PACR and HARP program implementation. DHS did not concur with five of the six recommendations, stating that lawsuits and the COVID-19 pandemic had, in effect, ended the programs. We reviewed evidence provided by CBP and concluded the lawsuits themselves did not terminate the PACR and HARP pilot programs. Therefore, the recommendations remain open and unresolved. If the programs resume, we plan to resume actual or virtual site visits and issue a report detailing DHS’ full implementation of the PACR and HARP pilot programs.
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.
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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-21-16Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2021
Testimony of Acting Inspector General Jennifer L. Costello, Before the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Before the U.S. House of Representatives, "The Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy: Substantiated Allegations of Mistreatment"
- 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 NumberOIG-18-78Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
We conducted a verification review to determine the adequacy, effectiveness, and timeliness of USCIS' corrective actions to address the seven report recommendations in Better Safeguards Are Needed in USCIS Green Card Issuance, OIG-17-11, November 16, 2016. At the time of our audit fieldwork in spring 2016, USCIS’ efforts to address the errors were inadequate. USCIS conducted a number of efforts to recover the inappropriately issued cards; however, these efforts also were not fully successful. At the time of our audit fieldwork in spring 2016, USCIS’ efforts to address the errors were inadequate. USCIS conducted a number of efforts to recover the inappropriately issued cards; however, these efforts also were not fully successful.Report NumberOIG-18-61Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
USCIS Has Unclear Website Information and Unrealistic Time Goals for Adjudicating Green Card ApplicationsExecutive Summary
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates applications for immigration benefits, including applications for permanent resident cards, also known as green cards. In response to congressional concerns, we examined green card application processing times, as well as why processing times vary among USCIS field offices. USCIS regularly posts information on its website about the time it takes field offices to adjudicate green card applications (processing time). Yet, the information is unclear and not helpful to USCIS’ customers because it does not reflect the actual amount of time it takes field offices, on average, to complete green card applications.Report NumberOIG-18-58Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
USCIS deployed this capability in April 2016 to improve processing of approximately 84,000 naturalization applications received each month. However, as before, the ELIS capabilities deployed did not include critical functionality necessary for end-to-end Form N-400 processing. ELIS repeatedly experienced outages and did not always perform as intended. Also, USCIS did not ensure field personnel were adequately trained to use the new system capabilities prior to deployment. Given its focus on meeting established system release dates, USCIS did not fully address our prior report recommendations to improve user support, stakeholder engagement, performance measurement, and testing to ensure ELIS met user needs and improved operations.Report NumberOIG-18-23Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
USCIS site visits provide minimal assurance that H-1B participants are compliant and not engaged in fraudulent activity. These visits assess whether petitioners and beneficiaries comply with applicable immigration laws and regulations. USCIS can approve more than 330,000 H-1B petitions each year, which could include extensions and amendments. As of April 2017, USCIS reported more than 680,000 approved and valid H-1B petitions. However, during FYs 2014–16, USCIS conducted an average of 7,200 ASVVP site visits annually. For the limited number of visits conducted, USCIS does not always ensure the IOs are thorough and comprehensive in their approach. Further limiting the site visits’ effectiveness, USCIS does not ensure the agency always takes proper and timely action when IOs identify potential fraud or noncompliance. USCIS also uses targeted site visits to respond to indicators of fraud; however, the agency does not completely track the costs and analyze the results of these visits.
Report NumberOIG-18-03Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2018
Individuals with Multiple Identities in Historical Fingerprint Enrollment Records Who Have Received Immigration BenefitsExecutive Summary
We determined that 9,389 aliens identified as having multiple identities had received an immigration benefit. When taking into account the most current immigration benefit these aliens received, we determined that naturalization, permanent residence, work authorization, and temporary protected status represent the greatest number of benefits, accounting for 8,447 or 90 percent of the 9,389 cases. Benefits for the remaining 10 percent of cases include applications for asylum and appeals to immigration court decisions. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has drafted a policy memorandum, Guidance for Prioritizing IDENT Derogatory Information Related to Historical Fingerprint Enrollment Records, outlining how it will review cases of individuals with multiple identities whose fingerprints were uploaded into the Automated Biometric Identification System through Historical Fingerprint Enrollment Records. We did not make any recommendations.Report NumberOIG-17-111Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2017
Management Alert - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Use of the Electronic Immigration System for Naturalization Benefits Processing (OIG-17-26-MA)Executive Summary
We recommend that USCIS halt plans to revert to using the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) to process immigrant naturalization applications until it successfully addresses identified system deficiencies. We made two recommendations to this Management Alert.Report NumberOIG-17-26-MAIssue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2017