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Executive Summary
INS Organizational Charts
List of Acronyms

I. Introduction

  1. Allegations
    1. Themes of the allegations
    2. Specific allegations that emerged in late spring and early summer 1996
  2. Description of OIG investigation
  3. Organization of the report
  4. INS structure and management
    1. Introduction
    2. Structure of INS
    3. The 1994 reorganization and key management personnel
    4. Commissioner Meissner's priority management system
  5. Naturalization procedures
    1. The application
      1. Who can apply-prerequisites
      2. Application and fees
    2. Processing within INS
      1. Initial processing
          (1) Receipt
          (2) A-files
          (3) Data-entry, File Transfer Requests, and scheduling of interviews
      2. Interviews and adjudications
      3. The oath ceremony

II. The Implementation of CUSA: an Overview

  1. A summary of the design of CUSA
    1. Commissioner Meissner's FY 1995 naturalization priority
    2. The surge in naturalization applications
      1. Factors that contributed to the surge in applications
    3. Commissioner Meissner's realization that the naturalization program was severely backlogged
    4. INS' attempt to address the backlog by reengineering the naturalization process
      1. Working with PRC, Inc.
      2. The addition of David Rosenberg to the naturalization initiative
    5. CUSA announced and production becomes the priority
    6. Two congressional allegations relating to the planning of CUSA
      1. The selection of the Key City Districts
      2. Soliciting naturalization applicants
  2. The means of production
    1. Staffing CUSA
      1. Staffing numbers and the focus on officer numbers
      2. New officers given limited training
          (1) Congressional allegations concerning compromised background checks of CUSA hires
    2. CUSA techniques for the processing of applications
      1. INS relied on a computer system that it knew needed to be replaced
          (1) Background on data systems
          (2) Problems with INS' data systems before and during CUSA
      2. Data-entry projects: Naturalization Data Entry Center
      3. Direct Mail
          (1) Origins of Direct Mail
          (2) Direct Mail for N-400s
    3. INS' partnerships with community-based organizations
  3. Production pressures during CUSA
    1. The original goal and the delays in implementation
    2. Adherence to the goal despite difficulties in reaching it
    3. NPR and the Expanded Naturalization Initiative
    4. The Field's reaction
      1. Increased production
      2. The perception of pressure in the Field

III. Interviews and Adjudications

  1. Introduction
  2. Background on the naturalization interview
    1. Introduction
    2. The interview process
    3. The "good moral character" standard and changes in the naturalization process
  3. Training for CUSA adjudicators
    1. Introduction
    2. DAO training before CUSA
    3. Temporary officers could only receive abbreviated training
      1. The reasons for choosing a temporary workforce
      2. Previous experience with adjudicators who were not academy-trained
    4. Exportable or "modular" training
    5. The CUSA training design
    6. Training implementation
      1. "Train the Trainer"
      2. Failure to emphasize the specific limitations of CUSA training
      3. Temporary officers did not adjudicate cases in the setting contemplated by the CUSA training program
        1. (1) Pre-screening not implemented
          (2) Primary/secondary strategy implemented in one CUSA office
          (3) New officers were not adequately supervised
      4. Lack of monitoring and evaluation of the CUSA training program
        1. (1) Chicago District did not implement the training program as designed
  4. INS' failure to provide adjudicative guidance
    1. Introduction
    2. No guidance provided concerning the evaluation of "good moral character"
    3. No guidance concerning the testing of English and Civics
      1. Regulations concerning English literacy and knowledge of Civics
      2. English and Civics testing before CUSA
          (1) Testing practices at the interview
          (2) Outside testing of English and Civics before CUSA
      3. English and Civics testing during CUSA
          (1) English and Civics testing under the Priority Implementation Plan
          (2) Testing practices at the interview
          (3) Outside testing of English and Civics during CUSA
    4. No guidance concerning the adjudication of naturalization applications by those suspected of obtaining residency through fraud
      1. Background
          (1) Special Agricultural Workers become eligible to apply for naturalization
          (2) INS' belief in widespread fraud in SAW program
          (3) Congressional concern about SAW fraud and INS' commitment to take appropriate action
          (4) The role of immigration fraud in the naturalization adjudication
          (5) The confidentiality provisions of IRCA
      2. Detecting SAW fraud and CUSA adjudications
          (1) Los Angeles
          (2) New York District
          (3) San Francisco District
          (4) Chicago District
          (5) Miami District
      3. Operation Desert Deception: INS did not take action during CUSA to prevent applicants who had benefited from SAW fraud from becoming citizens
          (1) Background on Operation Desert Deception
          (2) The delay
          (3) 144 naturalized before INS' file review begins
          (4) Insufficient direction to the Field
          (5) The Field receives direction on the last day of CUSA
          (6) The results of the review
          (7) The failure to use database "flags" and the naturalization of those suspected of SAW fraud
  5. Headquarters' encouragement of naturalization streamlining and the results in the Field
    1. Introduction
    2. The Naturalization Process Changes memorandum
      1. The instruction to streamline naturalization
      2. Alternative Examination Methods
          (1) Chicago off-site processing held out as a model although already recognized as vulnerable
          (2) Chicago off-site processing during CUSA
          (3) Headquarters officials avoid responsibility for Naturalization Process Changes memorandum
    3. Increased production in the Field
      1. Introduction
      2. CUSA practices in Los Angeles District
          (1) Introduction
          (2) El Monte adjudications
          (3) Off-site adjudications
      3. The New York District: Garden City adjudications
          (1) Introduction
          (2) Reporting "completed-approved" cases on the G-22
          (3) The pressure to produce in Garden City
      4. CUSA in the sub-offices within the San Francisco District
          (1) The division of labor within the District
          (2) A comparison of the workloads
          (3) The effects on adjudications
          (4) Prioritizing cases that could be approved
      5. Newark interview waivers
          (1) Background on the interview waiver strategy
          (2) Newark's "streamlined" interviews
          (3) Official response to Newark "streamlining"

IV. A-file Policy and Practice

  1. Introduction
  2. The A-file and its role in naturalization processing
  3. Principle v. practice: INS' reliance on temporary files before CUSA
    1. The policy of temporary files
      1. The Crosland directive did not require a search for the permanent file before the applicant's interview
      2. Inadequate criteria for the use of temporary files
      3. Pre-CUSA practices in the Key City Districts
          (1) Key City Districts that emphasized finding the A-file
          (2) Key City Districts where A-file searches were not a priority
    2. INS records management: setting the stage for reliance on temporary files at interview
      1. In the Field
      2. The view from Headquarters
  4. A-file policy and practices during CUSA
    1. CUSA records staffing and planning
      1. NDEC and its impact on file availability in Los Angeles and Miami
          (1) Impact of NDEC on Los Angeles cases
          (2) Impact of NDEC on Miami cases
      2. The effects of multiple sites
          (1) The first CUSA site: Laguna Niguel naturalization
          (2) Transfers among district offices, sub-offices, and CUSA sites: the example of San Francisco
    2. The impact of Direct Mail
      1. The origins of the file-movement theory of Direct Mail
      2. The consequences of Direct Mail's file-movement theory
          (1) Automated file movement
          (2) The district view-New York
          (3) The service center view-TSC and the Miami District
    3. A-file policy and "streamlining" naturalization
      1. El Monte's design precluded file review before the naturalization interview
      2. "Naturalization Process Changes" memorandum
  5. Consequences of the extensive reliance on temporary files
    1. Temporary files and naturalizing ineligible applicants who had engaged in fraud
    2. Temporary files and the loss of control over relevant records
      1. Automated systems could not be relied on to provide accurate closing information
      2. The example of INS' response to requests by the Committee on House Oversight
      3. The example of INS' unsuccessful efforts to determine the identity and number of persons who became citizens during CUSA
          (1) The creation of the KPMG database
          (2) What the Criminal History Case Review and the Rap Sheet Analysis Project reveal about INS record-keeping
          (3) Recreating the universe of cases

V. Criminal History Checking Procedures

  1. Introduction
  2. Background on criminal history checks and the presumptive policy
    1. Purpose and description of criminal history checks
    2. Fingerprint processing by the FBI
      1. Introduction
      2. Conducting fingerprint checks
    3. Origin and elimination of the presumptive policy
    4. INS blames the presumptive policy for its fingerprint processing errors during CUSA
  3. INS failures to properly administer fingerprint policy and procedures that pre-dated CUSA
    1. Failure to properly administer the presumptive period
      1. INS failed to clearly articulate the presumptive policy
      2. No uniform understanding of the presumptive period existed within INS
      3. The risk created by shorter presumptive periods
          (1) Los Angeles District
          (2) Chicago District
    2. Failure to resubmit fingerprint cards rejected by the FBI
      1. INS' lack of a policy requiring resubmission of rejected and unclassifiable fingerprint cards
          (1) Instructions concerning unclassifiable cards before 1994
          (2) Instructions to the Field on how to save money in the submission of fingerprint cards
          (3) The discretionary resubmission of rejected cards
      2. Key City District practices in regard to processing fingerprint cards rejected by the FBI
          (1) Districts that made some efforts to resubmit rejected fingerprint cards
          (2) Districts that failed to resubmit rejected cards
    3. Failure to ensure that rap sheets were available for review in conjunction with the naturalization interview
      1. Chicago District
      2. Los Angeles
  4. INS' failure to respond to outside recommendations to improve the fingerprint process: the OIG and GAO reports of 1994
    1. Introduction
    2. The 1994 OIG inspection report and recommendations
      1. The inspection and findings
      2. The recommendations
      3. INS' response to the OIG report
          (1) INS concurs only in part that fingerprint checks by the FBI are necessary
          (2) INS agreed that fingerprint processing required improvement but failed to take effective action
    3. INS suspends fingerprint checks in March 1994
    4. The recommendations of the Fingerprint Enhancement Working Group
      1. The FEWG's long-term recommendations
      2. FEWG's short-term recommendations
          (1) Reviewing and clarifying current fingerprinting procedures
          (2) Monitoring of INS field offices' compliance with procedures
          (3) Certifying fingerprint services providers
          (4) Incorporating information from FBI's automated billing records
    5. The GAO report
      1. The review
      2. GAO findings
      3. INS' response to the GAO report
          (1) INS repeats its commitment to monitoring compliance with procedures
          (2) INS resists ending the presumptive policy
          (3) The FEWG's short-term solution of using the automated billing records was not adopted
          (4) Exaggerating INS' progress in the response to the GAO report
    6. INS officials plan CUSA without fixing known deficiencies
  5. Criminal history checking procedures during CUSA
    1. Introduction
    2. Fingerprint processing and the Naturalization Data Entry Center
      1. Introduction
      2. Data-entry procedures and fingerprint processing at NDEC
      3. CUSA officials allowed NDEC cases to be scheduled without regard for the presumptive period
          (1) No backlog of pending interviews at the Laguna Niguel office
          (2) Los Angeles officials took no steps to ensure that cases were scheduled for interview only after the presumptive period had passed
          (3) INS Headquarters implemented computer system changes founded on the mistaken belief that fingerprint checks had been initiated for NDEC cases
          (4) Computer data shows applicant interviews were not postponed until a presumptive period had passed
    3. Fingerprint and rap sheet processing under Direct Mail
      1. Introduction
      2. Service center staff received insufficient training and guidance
          (1) Naturalization-specific training of service center staff was not prioritized
          (2) Deficiencies in the written guidance concerning fingerprint processing under Direct Mail
      3. The ramifications of inadequate planning and guidance
          (1) Background on software design innovations to promote the proper processing of fingerprint cards
          (2) INS failed to provide formal training on new software
          (3) The data-entry error and the resulting "sweep"
      4. Fingerprint processing under Direct Mail: the Texas Service Center and the Miami District
          (1) Reasons why the Miami District did not have cases ready for naturalization interview
          (2) INS permits Miami cases to be scheduled regardless of the date on which their fingerprint cards were sent to the FBI
          (3) Awareness at Headquarters that Miami needed to protect the 60-day period was not adequately communicated to the Field
          (4) IRM and FBI records show that the presumptive period was not respected
          (5) Rap sheets received only after the applicant naturalized in cases where the 60-day period was not observed
      5. Fingerprint processing under Direct Mail: the Vermont Service Center and the New York District
          (1) Errors at VSC
          (2) New York District learns of VSC processing errors and discovers additional mistakes in the processing of rap sheets and rejected fingerprint cards
    4. The Fingerprint Clearance Coordination Center
      1. Introduction
      2. Purpose of the FCCC
      3. Design of the FCCC process
      4. The implementation of the FCCC
          (1) The March 18 memorandum
          (2) The FCCC was immediately overwhelmed
          (3) Other results of inadequate planning at the FCCC
          (4) Confused implementation in the Field
      5. The Field's assessment of the FCCC process
      6. The end of the FCCC
    5. INS was slow to adjust to longer FBI processing times
      1. Introduction
      2. Attempts to reduce FBI processing times to permit a presumptive policy of fewer than 60 days
      3. Concerns from Headquarters staff and from the Field that naturalization processing times did not allow sufficient time for an applicant's fingerprint check
      4. The slow change to a 120-day presumptive policy
      5. Conclusion
    6. Bio-check processing for naturalization applicants
      1. Background information on bio-checks
          (1) INS procedures for submitting bio-check requests
          (2) The cost of bio-checks
      2. FBI procedures for processing bio-checks
          (1) The search for information
          (2) Advising INS of the results of the search
          (3) Processing time
      3. INS procedures for processing results of bio-checks
          (1) Receipt by INS
          (2) The presumptive period
      4. Bio-check processing during CUSA
          (1) Information provided by NACS insufficient to prevent the need for manual searches at FBI
          (2) Neither IRM nor the Records Division processed information returned as a result of the bio-check process
          (3) INS' response to its discovery of improper bio-check processing procedures
      5. Conclusion
  6. Widespread errors in the processing of applicant criminal histories and INS' unreliable reports to Congress
    1. Introduction
    2. The results of the KPMG-supervised reviews
      1. Case stratification
      2. Criminal History Case File Review
      3. Supplemental review
    3. Evidence of unreviewed rap sheets in the Key City Districts in contrast to INS' reports to Congress
      1. Headquarters' August 1996 survey in response to media reports concerning the mishandling of rap sheets
      2. The House subpoena
      3. Allegations at the September 24, 1996, hearing
      4. INS' response at the September 24 hearing to allegations concerning the failure to review applicant rap sheets during CUSA
      5. INS confirms the allegations of unreviewed rap sheets
          (1) Unreviewed rap sheets in the Chicago District
          (2) Unreviewed rap sheets in the Los Angeles District
          (3) Unreviewed rap sheets in the Miami District
    4. The Fingerprint Clearance Process Survey
      1. The questions posed by the survey
      2. Reliance on the survey to answer congressional questions
      3. The results of the Fingerprint Clearance Process Survey
          (1) Errors in the Fingerprint Clearance Process Survey
          (2) Headquarters officials did not recall the details of the Fingerprint Clearance Process Survey
  7. Conclusion

VI. INS Partnerships with Community-Based Organizations

  1. Introduction
  2. Background on INS' work with community organizations
  3. The partnership prong of CUSA
  4. Disparate approaches in the Field
    1. Chicago
    2. New York
    3. San Francisco
  5. INS, CBOs, and voter registration
    1. CBO voter registration activities during CUSA
    2. Actions by a San Francisco CBO that fueled speculation of improper political interest by INS
    3. Allegations of INS involvement in the registration of applicants who were not yet naturalized
  6. Conclusion

VII. White House/NPR Involvement in the CUSA Program

  1. Introduction
  2. Chronology of White House/NPR Involvement in CUSA
    1. Background Information
    2. CBO leader brings naturalization to the attention of the White House
    3. INS Involves the Department's Justice Performance Review in CUSA
    4. The White House asks INS about its naturalization backlog
    5. Solis sends a second letter to the White House about naturalization
    6. Hispanic Caucus raises concerns about naturalization
    7. Community leaders increase pressure for faster naturalization processing
    8. NPR's involvement in CUSA
      1. The decision to involve NPR
      2. Kamarck and NPR officials meet with INS
      3. Kamarck assigns NPR staff member Douglas Farbrother to work with INS on CUSA
      4. The Vice President meets with CBO representatives, INS officials, and NPR officials in Los Angeles
      5. NPR tours Key City Districts
      6. Farbrother proposes that INS delegate broad authority to field managers
      7. Deputy Attorney General Gorelick meets with INS and NPR
      8. INS responds to the meeting with the Deputy Attorney General
      9. INS parts company with NPR
  3. Effects of White House/NPR involvement
  4. White House motivations
    1. Introduction
    2. Analysis of evidence concerning motivations
    3. Explanations of White House officials
    4. Conclusion

VIII. CUSA's Effects on Other Programs: Adjustments of Status in Fiscal Year 1996

  1. Introduction
  2. The creation of Section 245(i) in 1994
  3. The reprogramming agreements
    1. The reprogramming obligation
    2. June 1995 reprogramming
    3. January 1996 reprogramming
  4. Adjustment processing in the Key City Districts during CUSA
    1. Emphasis on naturalization rather than adjustments in the Key City Districts
    2. Status of adjustment processing at the end of FY 1996
  5. Headquarters' explanations

IX. INS Employees' Allegations of Retaliation

  1. Introduction
  2. James Humble-Sanchez
    1. The allegations of retaliation
    2. OIG review
  3. Kathy Bell
    1. The allegations of retaliation
    2. OIG review
  4. Rosa Arauz
    1. The allegations of retaliation
    2. OIG review
  5. Joyce Woods
    1. The allegations of retaliation
    2. OIG review
  6. Neil Jacobs
    1. The allegations of retaliation
    2. OIG review
  7. Conclusion

X. Conclusions and Recommendations

  1. Summary
  2. INS' efforts to improve naturalization processing after CUSA
    1. Naturalization Quality Procedures
    2. Naturalization reengineering evaluation
      1. PwC's commentary on interviews
      2. PwC commentary on the testing of English and Civics
      3. PwC commentary on INS technology
    3. The Adjudicator's Field Manual
  3. Recommendations
    1. Interviews and adjudications
      1. The evaluation of "good moral character"
      2. Testing
      3. The evaluation of whether the applicant lawfully obtained permanent residency status
      4. Streamlining adjudication processes
    2. A-file policy and practice
    3. Criminal history checking procedures
    4. INS processing of adjustment of status applications
    5. Reliability in representations made to Congress

Appendix A:
   INS Naturalization Application Form N-400

Appendix B:
   Naturalization Process Changes Memorandum

Appendix C:
   OIG's Written Questions to Vice President Albert Gore

Appendix D:
   Vice President Albert Gore's Responses to OIG's Written Questions

Appendix E:
   Los Angeles District Criminal History Checking Procedures