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ICE

  • ICE Needs to Address Concerns About Detainee Care and Treatment at the Howard County Detention Center

    Executive Summary

    We found violations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention standards undermining the protection of detainees’ rights and the provision of a safe and healthy environment.  Although the Howard County Detention Center (HCDC) generally complied with ICE detention standards regarding communication, it did not meet the standards for detainee searches, food service, and record requirements for segregation and medical grievances.  We determined HCDC excessively strip searched ICE detainees when leaving their housing unit to attend activities within the facility, in violation of ICE detention standards and the facility’s own search policy.  In addition, HCDC failed to provide detainees with two hot meals per day, as required.  For those in segregation, HCDC did not document that detainees received three meals per day and daily medical visits.  Further, HCDC did not properly document the handling of detainee medical grievances.  We made two recommendations to ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to ensure the Baltimore ERO Field Office overseeing HCDC addresses identified issues and ensures facility compliance with relevant detention standards.  ICE concurred with both recommendations and is implementing a corrective action plan to address the concerns we identified.

    Report Number
    OIG-21-03
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • DHS Cannot Determine the Total Cost, Effectiveness, and Value of Its Joint Task Forces

    Executive Summary

    DHS has not effectively managed and coordinated Department resources for its Joint Task Forces (JTFs).  Specifically, DHS has not maintained oversight authority through changes in leadership, implemented and updated policies and procedures, identified optimal JTF staffing levels and resources, and established a process to capture total allocated costs associated with JTFs.  In addition, DHS has not fully complied with public law requirements to report to Congress on JTFs’ cost and impact, establish outcome-based performance metrics, and establish and maintain a joint duty training program.  We recommended the DHS Secretary designate a department-level office to manage and oversee JTFs and address public law requirements.  We made seven recommendations to improve DHS’ management and oversight of its JTFs and ensure compliance with legislative requirements.  DHS provided a management response, but declined to comment, since the Acting Secretary is currently reviewing the status and future of the JTFs

    Report Number
    OIG-20-80
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • DHS Inconsistently Implemented Administrative Forfeiture Authorities Under CAFRA

    Executive Summary

    DHS components used inconsistent processes for administrative forfeitures under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).  Specifically, we found inconsistencies among DHS components regarding the forms used to notify property owners and the process for responding to claims.  Further, CBP inappropriately used waivers to extend deadlines for responding to claims.  We recommended DHS implement a department-wide structure to oversee component forfeiture activities across DHS by designating an office at headquarters for this role.  Additionally, DHS should develop Department-wide policies and procedures, as well as review component policies, to ensure forfeiture processes and practices are consistent.  We made two recommendations to improve oversight across DHS and provide consistent processes for handling administrative forfeitures.  DHS concurred with recommendation two, which we consider resolved and open, but did not concur with recommendation one, which is unresolved and open.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-66
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Children Waited for Extended Periods in Vehicles to Be Reunified with Their Parents at ICE's Port Isabel Detention Center in July 2018

    Executive Summary

    We determined that children brought to Port Isabel on July 15, 2018, waited extended periods, and in many cases overnight, to be reunited with their parents.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was not prepared to promptly reunify all children who arrived at Port Isabel on the first day of attempted mass reunifications.  ICE and U.S. Health and Human Services had fundamentally different understandings about the timing and pace of reunifications, and ICE personnel at Port Isabel underestimated the resources necessary to promptly out-process the parents of arriving children.  As a result, some children waited in vehicles at Port Isabel, while others waited in unused detention cells, though all children were in climate-controlled environments and had continuous access to food, water, and restrooms.  As the mass reunifications continued, ICE personnel responded to processing and space issues, which generally resulted in shorter wait times for children who arrived at Port Isabel closer to the court’s July 26, 2018 deadline.  The report contains no recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-65
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • HSI Effectively Contributes to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, But Partnering Agreements Could Be Improved (REDACTED)

    Executive Summary

    determined ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is effectively contributing to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) counterterrorism efforts by leveraging its authorities, experience, skills, and staffing.  However, existing agreements and guidance on HSI’s participation in the JTTF and its terrorism financing investigations are outdated.  Additionally, we determined existing agreements and policy impose restrictions that delay and hinder sharing and access to information in the JTTF.  We recommended DHS JTTF contributors evaluate and update agreements governing JTTF participation as needed.  HSI should renegotiate and update the 2003 agreement on terrorism financing, as well as update its related guidance accordingly.  We also recommended DHS coordinate with Department of Justice and Department of State, as well as within the DHS, to develop agreements to allow for the more direct sharing of critical investigative information.  We made five recommendations that aim to improve counterterrorism efforts and information sharing.  DHS concurred with two recommendations and non-concurred with three.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-59
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Special Report - ICE Should Document Its Process for Adjudicating Disciplinary Matters Involving Senior Executive Service Employees

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not follow its written policy when conducting disciplinary reviews of Senior Executive Employees (SES) employees, which risks creating an appearance that SES employees receive more favorable treatment than non-SES employees.  We reviewed the disciplinary proceedings of the former SES official to evaluate whether ICE’s deviation from the written policy, or any other evidence, in that case indicated that the official received favorable treatment, as alleged.  We did not find evidence of actual favoritism or inappropriate influence in the official’s disciplinary or security clearance review processes.  We recommended that ICE finalize and issue its draft policy documenting the process for disciplining SES members.  We made one recommendation that will enhance transparency in ICE’s disciplinary program.  ICE concurred with our recommendation and took action to resolve and close it.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-54
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Capping Report: Observations of Unannounced Inspections of ICE Facilities in 2019

    Executive Summary

    We found violations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention standards undermining the protection of detainees’ rights and the provision of a safe and healthy environment.  Although the conditions varied among the facilities and not every problem was present at each, our observations, interviews with detainees and staff, and review of documents revealed several common issues.  At three facilities, we found segregation practices infringing on detainee rights.  Detainees at all four facilities had difficulties resolving issues through the grievance and communication systems, including allegations of verbal abuse by staff.  Two facilities had issues with classifying detainees according to their risk levels, which could affect safety.  Lastly, we identified living conditions at three facilities that violate ICE standards.  We recommended the Acting Director of ICE ensure the Enforcement and Removal Operations field offices overseeing the detention facilities covered in the report address identified issues and ensure facility compliance with relevant detention standards.  We made one recommendation that will help ICE ensure compliance with detention standards. ICE concurred with the recommendation.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-45
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Early Experiences with COVID-19 at ICE Detention Facilities

    Executive Summary

    We surveyed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities from April 8-20, 2020 regarding their experiences and challenges managing COVID-19 among detainees in their custody and among their staff.  The facilities that responded to our survey described various actions they have taken to prevent and mitigate the pandemic’s spread among detainees.  These actions include increased cleaning and disinfecting of common areas, and isolating new detainees, when possible, as a precautionary measure.  However, facilities reported concerns with their inability to practice social distancing among detainees, and to isolate or quarantine individuals who may be infected with COVID-19.  Regarding staffing, facilities reported decreases in current staff availability due to COVID-19, but have contingency plans in place to ensure continued operations.  The facilities also expressed concerns with the availability of staff, as well as protective equipment for staff, if there were an outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility.  Overall, almost all facilities stated they were prepared to address COVID-19, but expressed concerns if the pandemic continued to spread.  At the time of our survey, 23 facilities reported having detainees who had tested positive for COVID-19; this number had risen to 48 facilities as of May 11, 2020.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-42
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Criminal Alien Program Faces Challenges

    Executive Summary

    Through its Criminal Alien Program (CAP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can successfully identify aliens charged with or convicted of crimes.  However, because ICE relies on cooperation from other law enforcement agencies, it sometimes faces challenges apprehending aliens in uncooperative jurisdictions.  ICE’s inability to detain aliens identified through CAP contributes to increased risk those aliens will commit more crimes.  Furthermore, having to arrest “at-large” aliens may put officer, detainee, and public safety at risk and strains ICE’s staffing resources.  We made four recommendations to ICE focused on improving CAP.  ICE concurred with all four recommendations and initiated corrective actions to address the findings. 

    Report Number
    OIG-20-13
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • CBP, ICE, TSA, and Secret Service Have Taken Steps to Address Illegal and Prescription Opioid Use

    Executive Summary

    From fiscal years 2015 through 2018, in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Secret Service appropriately disciplined employees whose drug test results indicated illegal opioid use, based on their employee standards of conduct and tables of offenses and penalties.  Additionally, during the same time period, components have either implemented or are taking steps to evaluate whether employees using prescription opioids can effectively conduct their duties.  For example, components have established policies prohibiting the use of prescription opioids that may impact an employee’s ability to work, in addition to requiring employees to report such prescription opioid use.  They have also implemented or are in the process of implementing measures to evaluate the fitness for duty of employees using prescription opioids.  These policies establish consistent standards components can use to ensure they are allowing employees to use legally-prescribed opioids, while also ensuring their workforce is capable of effectively performing their duties.  We made two recommendations to improve components’ oversight of illegal and prescription opioid use by employees.  CBP and Secret Service concurred with the recommendations, which are both resolved and open.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-05
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
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