During our unannounced inspection of Otay Mesa in San Diego, California, we identified violations of ICE detention standards that compromised the health, safety, and rights of detainees. Otay Mesa complied with standards for classification and generally provided sufficient medical care to detainees. In addressing COVID-19, Otay Mesa did not consistently enforce precautions including use of facial coverings and social distancing. Overall, we found that Otay Mesa did not meet standards for grievances, segregation, or staff-detainee communications. Specifically, Otay Mesa did not respond timely to detainee grievances and did not forward staff misconduct grievances to ICE as required. In addition, Otay Mesa was not consistently providing required services for detainees in segregation including access to recreation, legal calls, laundry, linen exchange, mail, legal materials, commissary, and law library. Further, ICE did not consistently respond to detainee requests timely and did not specify times for visits with detainees. Finally, we determined the declining detainee population at Otay Mesa caused ICE to pay more than $22 million for unused bed space under a guaranteed minimum contract. We made seven recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations to ensure the San Diego ERO Field Office overseeing Otay Mesa addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards. ICE concurred with six recommendations and non-concurred with one recommendation.
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- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-21-61Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2021
ICE’s Management of COVID-19 in Its Detention Facilities Provides Lessons Learned for Future Pandemic ResponsesExecutive Summary
ICE has taken various actions to prevent the pandemic’s spread among detainees and staff at their detention facilities. At the nine facilities we remotely inspected, these measures included maintaining adequate supplies of PPE such as face masks, enhanced cleaning, and proper screening for new detainees and staff. However, we found other areas in which detention facilities struggled to properly manage the health and safety of detainees. For example, we observed instances where staff and detainees did not consistently wear face masks or socially distance. In addition, we noted that some facilities did not consistently manage medical sick calls and did not regularly communicate with detainees regarding their COVID-19 test results. Although we found that ICE was able to decrease the detainee population to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, information on detainee transfers was limited. We also found that testing of both detainees and staff was insufficient, and that ICE headquarters did not generally provide effective oversight of their detention facilities during the pandemic. Overall, ICE must resolve these issues to ensure it can meet the challenges of not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but future pandemics as well. We made six recommendations to improve ICE’s management of COVID-19 in its detention facilities. ICE concurred with all six recommendations.Report NumberOIG-21-58Issue DateDocument FileOversight AreaKeywordsFiscal Year2021
- Executive Summary
Although ICE had controls in place that required Capgemini Government Solutions, LLC to provide qualified labor, ICE did not properly construct or monitor the contract. This occurred because ICE awarded a firm-fixed-price contract but required a labor-hour performance measurement to monitor and track work hours, which was not appropriate for this type of contract. The contractor also did not provide the number of staff ICE required for specific labor categories. As a result, ICE cannot ensure it received all services, and it overpaid $769,869 in labor costs. Finally, ICE did not ensure the contractor met statement of work requirements for staff skill sets, education, and work experience, nor did it ensure all contractor staff worked at the designated place of performanceReport NumberOIG-21-57Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2021
- Executive Summary
During our unannounced inspection of Adams in Natchez, Mississippi, we identified violations of ICE detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees. Although Adams generally provided sufficient medical care, we identified one case in which the medical unit examined a sick detainee but did not send the detainee to the hospital for urgent medical treatment, and the detainee died. We also found the medical unit did not document outcomes of detainee sick calls or ensure proper review and follow-up of detainee test results. In addressing COVID-19, Adams took some measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but detainees did not consistently follow some guidelines, including use of facial coverings and social distancing, which may have contributed to repeated COVID-19 transmissions. Adams did not meet standards for classification, grievances, segregation, or staff-detainee communications. Specifically, we discovered a low custody detainee comingled with higher custody detainees, and found the facility did not always identify detainees with special vulnerabilities or those requiring translation services. Adams also did not respond timely to detainee grievances and was not consistently providing required care for detainees in segregation including access to recreation, legal calls, laundry, linen exchange, mail, legal materials, commissary, law library, and to ICE forms and drop-boxes for detainees to make requests. In addition, ICE did not consistently respond to detainee requests timely. Finally, we determined the declining detainee population at Adams resulted in ICE paying more than $17 million for unused bed space under a guaranteed minimum contract. We made seven recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to ensure the New Orleans ERO Field Office overseeing Adams addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards. ICE concurred with all seven recommendations.Report NumberOIG-21-46Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2021
CBP Generally Provided Accurate Notices to Appear to Migrant Protection Protocols Enrollees, but Could Improve Procedures to Reduce Future ErrorsExecutive Summary
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.Report NumberOIG-21-45Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2021
- Executive Summary
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not adequately identify and track human trafficking crimes. Specifically, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) did not accurately track dissemination and receipt of human trafficking tips, did not consistently take follow-up actions on tips, and did not maintain accurate data on human trafficking. These issues occurred because HSI did not have a cohesive approach for carrying out its responsibilities to combat human trafficking. We made one recommendation to improve ICE’s coordination and human trafficking efforts to assist victims. ICE concurred with our recommendation.Report NumberOIG-21-40Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2021
- 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 NumberOIG-21-37Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyFiscal Year2021
ICE Did Not Consistently Provide Separated Migrant Parents the Opportunity to Bring Their Children upon RemovalExecutive 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 NumberOIG-21-36Issue DateDocument FileKeywordsFiscal Year2021
- 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 NumberOIG-21-35Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyKeywordsFiscal Year2021
- Executive Summary
During our unannounced inspection of Pulaski County Jail, we identified violations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention standards that threatened the health, safety, and rights of detainees. In addressing COVID-19, Pulaski did not consistently enforce precautions including use of facial coverings and social distancing, which may have contributed to repeated COVID-19 transmissions at the facility. Pulaski did not meet standards for classification, medical care, segregation, or detainee communication. We found that the facility was not providing a color-coded visual identification system based on the criminal history of detainees, causing inadvertent comingling of a detainee with significant criminal history with detainees who had no criminal history. The facility generally provided sufficient medical care, but did not provide emergency dental services and the medical unit did not have procedures in place for chronic care follow-up. We also found that the facility was not consistently providing required oversight for detainees in segregation by conducting routine wellness checks. Finally, we found deficiencies in staff communication practices with detainees. Specifically, ICE did not specify times for staff to visit detainees and could not provide documentation that it completed facility visits with detainees during the pandemic. We did find that Pulaski generally complied with the ICE detention standard for grievances. We made five recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to ensure the Chicago ERO Field Office overseeing Pulaski addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards. ICE concurred with all five recommendations.Report NumberOIG-21-32Issue DateDocument FileFiscal Year2021