Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report assessing the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) efforts to identify its funding needs and execute its budget. The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated this audit after the Justice Management Division (JMD), the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress raised concerns about EOIR-wide emails sent by the EOIR Director announcing that its fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriation left EOIR ”considerably short of being able to fulfill all of [EOIR’s] current operational needs” and called for “difficult financial decisions” and suspending certain anticipated EOIR initiatives.
The DOJ OIG found that the EOIR Director sent these emails despite the fact that EOIR’s $563 million appropriation was in line with its FY 2019 budget request and EOIR’s budget office had already developed plans to sustain EOIR operations within this appropriation. We found weaknesses in EOIR’s budget planning process and identified three factors that contributed to these weaknesses:
- First, EOIR leadership failed to coordinate effectively with its budget staff and with the Justice Management Division (JMD) on the status and impact of its FY 2019 appropriation.
- Second, EOIR’s FY 2019 budget request did not seek enough funding to cover a substantial increase in interpreter fees.
- Third, miscommunication across EOIR led to leadership miscalculating its anticipated FY 2019 interpreter expenses.
Today’s report makes one recommendation to EOIR to enhance its financial management, particularly as it pertains to the use of financial management data available to leadership and how leadership communicates with its budget staff. EOIR agreed with the recommendation.