April 1, 2002–September 30, 2002
Office of the Inspector General
THE EVALUATION AND INSPECTIONS DIVISION
The Evaluation and Inspections Division (E&I) provides alternatives to traditional audits and investigations through short-term management reviews and program evaluations that assess the efficiency, vulnerability, and effectiveness of Department operations. E&I relies on its multidisciplinary workforce to provide timely reviews on diverse issues. E&I is located in Washington, D.C.
REVIEW OF THE FOREIGN STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM
This review examined the process by which foreign students and exchange visitors gain admission to the United States and the process by which the INS tracks and monitors foreign students and exchange visitors once they have entered the United States. As part of the review, we examined SEVIS, the INS's newly developed system that will be used to collect information on full-time foreign students, exchange visitors, and their dependents. We concluded that SEVIS will be an improvement over the INS's old paper-based tracking system, which was inefficient, inaccurate, and unreliable. However, SEVIS will not correct all the program deficiencies we found. In addition, although the SEVIS database should technically be available by the congressionally mandated deadline of January 2003, we have concerns that the certification of schools, training of INS and school officials, and plans for analyzing SEVIS data to identify fraud and take enforcement actions will not be fully implemented by this date. E&I's work on the foreign student and exchange visitor program was included in the OIG report entitled The Immigration and Naturalization Service's Contact with the Two September 11 Terrorists: A Review of the INS's Admissions of Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, its Processing of Their Change of Status Applications, and its Efforts to Track Foreign Students in the United States.
INS EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE CONTROL OF NONIMMIGRANT OVERSTAYS
This follow-up review focused on security concerns identified in our 1997 report, Inspection of Immigration and Naturalization Service Monitoring of Nonimmigrant Overstays. We found that the INS has made little progress since 1997 in effectively dealing with nonimmigrant overstays. At the time of our follow-up review, the INS still did not have a reliable system to track overstays, did not have a specific overstay enforcement program, and could not perform its responsibilities under the Visa Waiver Program to provide accurate data on overstays.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, focused renewed attention on the importance of knowing when nonimmigrant visitors enter and depart the United States. We concluded that the INS must identify individual overstays, collect aggregate information on overstays, and develop an effective interior enforcement strategy for pursuing overstays who are identified as representing the greatest potential risk to the security of the United States.
When our 1997 report was issued, the INS expected that its automated I-94 system would provide the arrival and departure information necessary to identify overstays and aid the development of an effective enforcement strategy to address the problem. However, according to a November 2001 INS evaluation, the automated I-94 system will not be able to identify overstays or meet the requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which mandates development of an integrated entry-exit control system. Consequently, in February 2002 the INS terminated the automated I-94 project.
The INS is working with other federal agencies to develop an integrated entry-exit control system with provisions for biometric identifiers and machine-readable documents. However, implementation of the full entry-exit system will take years. In the interim, we believe the INS should implement the recommendations from our 1997 report to improve the collection of departure records by working with airlines to promote carrier compliance, monitoring carrier compliance, and fining non-compliant airlines.
THE DEA'S INVESTIGATIONS OF THE DIVERSION OF CONTROLLED PHARMACEUTICALS
This review examined the DEA's investigations of the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and found that DEA enforcement efforts have not adequately addressed the widespread diversion problem. Despite the widespread problem, the DEA has dedicated only 10 percent of its field investigator positions to diversion investigations. Since 1990, the number of diversion investigators as a percentage of total DEA investigators has decreased by 3 percent.
We also found that the DEA has failed to provide sufficient investigative capabilities for diversion investigators. Since diversion investigators lack law enforcement authority, they must request assistance from either DEA special agents or local law enforcement officers to perform essential activities such as conducting surveillance, issuing search warrants, managing confidential informants, and performing undercover drug purchases. We found that difficulties in obtaining law enforcement assistance have caused delays in developing cases for prosecution and have had a negative impact on the quality of the investigations. In addition, we found that the DEA provides minimal intelligence support to its diversion investigators.
We made four recommendations to enhance the DEA's investigative capability and intelligence support dedicated to the diversion problem. The DEA concurred with our recommendations.
TREATMENT OF SEPTEMBER 11 DETAINEES
In furtherance of our responsibilities under the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, the OIG is reviewing aspects of the Department's treatment of September 11 detainees. We are assessing conditions at two facilities - the BOP's Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, and the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey. In this review, we are examining three primary issues:
We also are examining pre- and post-September 11 policies and procedures concerning detention, deportation, immigration bonds, immigration hearings, and administrative and criminal charging.
THE BOP'S DRUG INTERDICTION ACTIVITIES
This review evaluates the drug interdiction activities implemented by the BOP to reduce or eliminate the supply of and demand for drugs in BOP institutions. The report examines the extent of the drug problem in BOP facilities, identifies various drug interdiction activities the BOP uses, and recommends additional corrective actions for the BOP to help prevent drugs from entering its institutions.
THE INS'S DEPORTATION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS AFTER ISSUANCE OF FINAL ORDERS
This follow-up review is examining the INS's progress in deporting illegal aliens after they have been issued final orders of removal. When we reported on this subject in 1996, we identified significant issues with the INS's ability to deport aliens who were not detained pending the outcome of their case hearings. This current review is assessing the initiatives the INS developed to improve its deportation rate.
REVIEW OF THE DEA'S DISCIPLINE PROCESS
This review is examining the process by which the DEA identifies, refers, and investigates employee misconduct and imposes and enforces disciplinary actions in response to substantiated employee misconduct allegations. We are evaluating the DEA's compliance with procedures for reporting allegations of misconduct to the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility and are reviewing the timeliness of the process from referral of the allegation to implementation of disciplinary action. We also are examining the appropriateness and consistency of disciplinary actions.
DOJ Order 2900.10, Follow-up and Resolution Policy for Inspection Recommendations by the OIG, requires reports to be resolved within six months of the report issuance date. As of September 30, 2002, there are no unresolved E&I reports.
EVALUATION AND INSPECTIONS STATISTICS
The chart below summarizes E&I's accomplishments for the 6-month reporting period ending September 30, 2002.
|E&I Workload Accomplishments||Number |
|Reviews active at beginning of period||6|
|Final reports issued||3|
|Reviews active at end of reporting period||6|