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Immigration and Naturalization Service Institutional Removal Program

Report No. 02-41
September 2002
Office of the Inspector General



Audit Objectives

The purpose of the audit was to evaluate the effectiveness of the IRP in achieving the timely removal of aliens in accordance with the laws. The objectives were to determine: (1) the effectiveness of INS's management of the IRP and, in particular, how well the INS managed the IRP with regard to the impact of the 1996 legislated changes in immigration law on the IRP workload; (2) whether the INS identified all foreign-born inmates in state or local custody, and whether deportable criminal aliens not identified by the INS went on to commit other crimes after release from incarceration; and (3) the costs incurred by the INS for the detention of criminal aliens due to failures in the IRP process and the reasons thereof.


The scope of the audit encompassed IRP activities during fiscal years 1999 through 2001. Our primary focus was on IRP activities at the state and local level, for which primary fieldwork was conducted in California and Florida and included site work at INS offices, as well as state and local correctional agencies.


To complete the audit, we (1) reviewed applicable laws, policies, regulations, manuals, and memoranda; (2) interviewed officials at the INS, the EOIR, the GAO, and the Department of State; (3) reviewed state and county IRP operations in California and Florida, representing nearly half of the total known incarcerated foreign-born population in the United States; (4) judgmentally selected and reviewed a total of 746 case files as follows: 545 case files of inmates in state prisons and county jails in California and Florida, 151 INS A-files of criminal aliens in INS custody, and 50 INS A-files from the Western File Center in El Centro, CA; and (5) conducted fieldwork at INS Headquarters in Washington, DC; INS district and sub-offices in Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Fresno CA; Bakersfield, CA; Miami, FL; the INS Western Regional Office in Laguna Niguel, CA; and the Western File Center and INS Processing Center in El Centro, CA.

For objective 1, we interviewed INS officials and analyzed data obtained from county law enforcement agencies in California and Florida to try to determine how well INS management handled the impact of the 1996 legislated changes in immigration law on the IRP workload.

For objective 2, we tested for recidivism on the part of foreign-born inmates released into the community from state and local custody. We obtained data on foreign-born inmates who were released from state and local custody in June 1999 to determine whether the INS had performed IRP interviews, and to determine whether deportable criminal aliens who were not identified had committed additional crimes after being released. We selected June 1999 in order to provide an adequate passage of time to test for recidivism.

For objective 3, we judgmentally selected 151 A-files for review from a listing of aliens detained in INS custody as of July 19, 2001 and October 9, 2001. We combined the two data runs and eliminated duplicate names and non-criminal aliens. The resulting report was analyzed for purposes of selecting a judgmental sample of A-files that would represent a cross-section of criminal aliens released into INS custody from federal, state, and local correctional facilities, based on location, nature of crime, and nationality. Calculation of detention costs was based on the number of days in detention and the average jail day rate of $58.56, which was based on INS jail day rates for contract and local facilities INS-wide.