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Border Security

  • Lack of Internal Controls Could Affect the Validity of CBP’s Drawback Claims

    Executive Summary

    Between 2011 and 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed an average of $896 million in drawback claims annually; however, a lack of internal controls could affect the validity and accuracy of the drawback claims amount.  This occurred, in part, because CBP did not address internal control deficiencies over drawback claims.  The Department of Homeland Security Fiscal Year 2018 Independent Auditor’s Report on Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting identified reoccurring CBP internal control deficiencies over drawback claims.  CBP has outlined plans to correct these deficiencies by implementing an updated data processing system and revising legislative procedures.  Without correcting these repeated control deficiencies, CBP cannot determine drawback claims’ validity and accuracy.  These corrective actions are ongoing; therefore, we could not verify during our audit whether CBP remedied the identified internal control deficiencies. Our report contains no recommendations.  

    Report Number
    OIG-20-07
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • DHS Lacked Technology Needed to Successfully Account for Separated Migrant Families

    Executive Summary

    DHS did not have the Information Technology (IT) system functionality needed to track separated migrant families during the execution of Zero Tolerance.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) adopted various ad hoc methods to record and track family separations, but this practice introduced widespread errors.  These conditions persisted because CBP did not address known IT deficiencies before the Zero Tolerance Policy was implemented in May 2018.  DHS also did not provide adequate guidance to personnel responsible for executing the policy.  Because of the IT deficiencies, we could not confirm the total number of families DHS separated during the Zero Tolerance period.  DHS estimated Border Patrol agents separated 3,014 children from their families while the policy was in place.  DHS also estimated it completed 2,155 reunifications, although this effort continued on for seven months beyond the July 2018 deadline for reunifying children with their parents.  However, we conducted a review of DHS data during the Zero Tolerance period and identified 136 children with potential family relationships that were not accurately recorded by CBP.  In a broader analysis of DHS data between the dates of October 1, 2017 to February 14, 2019, we identified an additional 1,233 children with potential family relationships not accurately recorded by CBP.  Without a reliable accounting of all family relationships, we could not validate the total number of separations, or the completion of reunifications.  Although DHS spent thousands of hours and more than $1 million in overtime costs, it did not achieve the original goal of deterring “Catch-and-Release” through the Zero Tolerance Policy.  Moreover, the surge in apprehended families during this time period resulted in children being held in CBP facilities beyond the 72-hour legal limit.  The Department concurred with all five report recommendations.

    Report Number
    OIG-20-06
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2020
  • Management Alert - CBP Did Not Adequately Protect Employees from Possible Fentanyl Exposure

    Executive Summary

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays a critical role in the Nation’s efforts to interdict dangerous substances and prohibited items at U.S. ports of entry and keep these materials from harming the American public. An important part of CBP’s mission is preventing foreign countries from importing illegal drugs such as opioids into the U.S. CBP is experiencing a rise in seizures of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl that upon exposure can kill in minutes.  CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) Fines Penalties and Forfeitures Division stores, manages, and disposes seized property, including illicit drugs such as fentanyl.  During our ongoing audit of CBP’s storage of seized drugs at permanent drug vaults we visited, we determined that CBP does not adequately protect its staff from the dangers of powerful synthetic opioids.  Specifically, CBP has not always made medications designed to treat narcotic overdose available in case of accidental exposure.  This occurred because CBP lacks an official policy requiring standard workplace practices for handling fentanyl and safeguarding personnel against exposure.  In addition, CBP does not require mandatory training for its staff to provide an understanding of the hazards of fentanyl and methods to combat accidental exposure.  As a result, CBP staff is at increased risk of injury or death in case of exposure.  We made one recommendation to help CBP provide its components with guidance, knowledge, and tools to handle and reverse overdoses from fentanyl and other opioids.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-53
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • Border Patrol Needs a Staffing Model to Better Plan for Hiring More Agents

    Executive Summary

    Within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Border Patrol agents are responsible for patrolling our international land borders and coastal waters surrounding Florida and Puerto Rico. We conducted this audit to determine to what extent Border Patrol agents meet workload requirements related to investigative and law enforcement activities. Border Patrol needs to manage its workforce more efficiently, effectively, and economically. CBP and Border Patrol must expedite the development and implementation of a workforce staffing model for Border Patrol as required by Congress. Without a complete workforce staffing model, Border Patrol senior managers are unable to definitively determine the operational needs for, or best placement of, the 5,000 additional agents DHS was directed to hire per the January 2017 Executive Order.

    Report Number
    OIG-19-23
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2019
  • 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
  • Review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Fiscal Year 2017 Drug Control Performance Summary Report

    Executive Summary

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Circular, Accounting of Drug Control Funding and Performance Summary, requires National Drug Control Program agencies to submit to the ONDCP Director, not later than February 1 of each year, a detailed accounting of all funds expended for National Drug Control Program activities during FY 2017. This Performance Summary Report contains the performance measures aligned to drug control decision units as required by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Circular: Accounting of Drug Control Funding and Performance Summary, dated January 18, 2013. The drug control decision units are as follows: (1) Salaries and Expenses, (2) Air and Marine Interdiction, Operations, Maintenance, and Procurement and (3) Border Security Fence, Infrastructure and Technology.

    Report Number
    OIG-18-47
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2018
  • Special Report: Challenges Facing DHS in Its Attempt to Hire 15,000 Border Patrol Agents and Immigration Officers

    Executive Summary

    This is a DHS OIG special report regarding DHS’ efforts to hire an additional 15,000 law enforcement officers.  This is the first in a series of reports.  This report describes lessons learned from prior DHS OIG, Government Accountability Office, and DHS departmental reports on challenges relating to hiring and other important areas of human capital management.  We made no recommendations in this report.

    Report Number
    OIG-17-98-SR
    Issue Date
    Document File
    DHS Agency
    Oversight Area
    Fiscal Year
    2017
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