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Immigration and Naturalization Service's Premium Processing Program

Report No. 03-14
February 2003
Office of the Inspector General



The purpose of the Service Center Operations Team (SCOT) contract is to obtain comprehensive, cost-effective on-site data entry and other records processing and related support services for the INS in its four service centers, and in any additional locations INS may designate in writing.

In the past, aliens eligible to apply for benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Laws would submit their applications and petitions to one of 86 INS District Offices and Suboffices throughout the United States. To introduce greater efficiencies and improved productivity, the INS established four service centers and initiated a Direct Mail Program in 1986. Under the program, aliens seeking benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act) are to mail their applications and petitions to a service center rather than to a District or Suboffice. The four INS service centers currently supporting the Direct Mail Program are:

  • California Service Center (CSC), Laguna Niguel, California
  • Texas Service Center (TSC), Dallas, Texas
  • Nebraska Service Center (NSC), Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Vermont Service Center (VSC), St. Albans, Vermont

The Direct Mail Program is currently in its third phase of implementation. Phases I and II involved the mailing of a limited number of applications and petitions to the service centers for processing. In Phase III, all applications and petitions are to be mailed directly to the respective service centers.

The scope of work performed under the SCOT contract includes record project management and processing services. These support services consist of, but are not limited to, the following task areas:

  1. Mailroom operations
  2. File assembly
  3. Data collection, capture, and scanning
  4. Document preparation
  5. Fee collection and processing
  6. Fileroom operations
  7. Word processing
  8. Quality control, including continual process evaluation and improvement
  9. Business Process Reengineering, including requirements analysis, system design, development, and implementation
  10. Other records management functions, processing, and services as designated in any media or storage modality (electronic, paper, optical storage, etc.) as specified.

The objective of the contract is to provide cost-effective, timely, accurate, and comprehensive on-site data entry and other records management services at INS service centers or other specified locations in a manner consistent with effective adjudication, financial responsibility, and customer service. The INS is the customer of services under this contract. Other than law enforcement activities, the applications processed under this contract are the most highly visible products and aspects of INS's operations.

The contractor (SCOT) provides all labor, supervision, and training necessary for the performance of the work specified in its Statement of Work. The contractor also provides transportation services (e.g., courier services) for mail between the post offices and the four INS service centers, and for mail and files internally within the service centers located in multiple buildings.

The INS specified performance standards in each task area related to the processes that the INS believes are critical to successful performance of the Direct Mail Program. The INS reserves the right to add, delete, and revise performance requirements for calls after issuing the initial call. These requirements and their associated performance standards define the work to be performed. The INS established these performance requirements and associated standards after careful analysis of current operations based on historical performance against similar established standards.

The INS intends to monitor performance closely, and requires the contractor to do the same. The INS will measure performance against these standards for each government fiscal quarter.

The INS's contract with SCOT became effective in January 2001, and full performance started July 1, 2001. The contract has a base year and four option years. The table below illustrates some general information obtained during our audit.

INS/SCOT Service Center Contract
FTEs (a) Contract
Price (a)
Costs (b)
Activity (b)
CSC 495.5 $ 166.4 m $ 25.6 m 20.8 m
NSC 364.5 128.5 m 16.6 m 16.7 m
TSC 386.5 138.0 m 16.4 m 14.7 m
VSC 427.5 144.3 m 18.4 m 12.4 m
Totals 1674.0 $ 577.2 m $ 77.0 m 64.6 m
(a). per Contract Modification No. 7, dated 07/02/02.
(b). per Base Year data, through 06/17/02.