USDOJ/OIG Special Report




IN JUNE 1995


I.  Introduction

This investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) began on July 14, 1995, in response to allegations that Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials had created a false picture of working conditions during a Congressional fact-finding visit to Miami on June 10, 1995. The allegations were contained in a document (Complaint) signed by nearly 50 INS employees, who protested that their managers had intentionally misled a visiting delegation of members of the Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform (Delegation or Task Force). The Delegation had visited the Miami International Airport (Airport) and the Krome Service Processing Center (Krome) to gather information and make assessments for its report recommending reforms in immigration policy to Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Once made public, the allegations created immediate controversy. Members of the Task Force had no idea that they were seeing anything at the Miami Airport or at Krome that was out of the ordinary and were outraged at the possibility that the allegations might be true. INS Headquarters officials in Washington quickly sought to determine whether the contentions in the Complaint were accurate and requested a response by the senior management in the INS Miami District Office. On July 13, 1995, and again on July 17, INS Miami District officials prepared memoranda denying substantially all of the allegations in the Complaint.

In brief, the INS employees who signed the Complaint alleged that, in the two days preceding the Delegation's visit, INS senior managers took steps to present the Miami District as well-managed, efficiently run, and under control when in fact it was experiencing major difficulties in discharging its various responsibilities. Specifically, the employees contended that INS management acted to prevent the Delegation from seeing that the Krome facility housing alien detainees was understaffed and overcrowded. Management allegedly did so by increasing staffing at Krome solely on the day of the visit and by transferring or releasing a total of 149 illegal aliens (almost 40 percent of the total population at Krome) in the forty-eight hours before the Delegation touched down in Miami. The Complaint contended that some aliens were temporarily sent to other INS detention facilities and local jails, some were bused to Key West, Florida, for lunch and then returned to Krome, and others were released in large groups into the community even though they had entered the United States illegally, were criminals, or had not undergone medical checks prior to release.

With respect to Miami Airport, the employees asserted that INS management increased the staffing at the Airport so that the primary and secondary inspection lines would appear to be more orderly than usual and directed that aliens be moved out of holding cells into an unsecured area where potentially excludable aliens are processed. The employees also contended that INS managers had ordered immigration inspectors to remove their gear belts, which contain holsters, handcuffs, and ammunition; failed to give adequate advance notice of the Delegation's visit to employees; and excluded union leaders from participating in the Delegation's visit.

II. Summary of Investigation

To investigate these serious charges, OIG assembled a large team of criminal investigative agents and auditors led by an Assistant United States Attorney on detail from the Southern District of New York and the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the OIG Washington, D.C., Field Office. Because the allegations asserted that a distorted and misleading picture of conditions had been created expressly for the Delegation's visit, our investigation of the allegations focused on three distinct lines of inquiry: (1) What was the normal situation at Krome and the Airport with respect to the issues raised in the Complaint? (2) Was there a deviation from this normal pattern on the day the Delegation toured these facilities in Miami? (3) What intent could we attribute to INS managers for differences between what was normal and what occurred on June 10?

In our initial efforts to answer these questions, we discovered that significant discrepancies and omissions existed in the INS record systems. Only by reconstructing those records -- often by hand and through numerous days of sifting through paper records and entering them into database files -- was it possible to ascertain the true, "normal" state of conditions at Krome and the Airport. Moreover, once we had reconstructed what actually happened on June 10, 1995, we evaluated (and again, manually verified) INS records with respect to such issues as staffing and alien movements in the months before the Delegation visited Miami. This work was very time-consuming, but it was the only way to accurately assess the serious contention that conditions at Krome and the Airport were significantly different on June 10 than they were normally. Without this effort, we could not be confident in concluding, as we do in this Report, that alien movements and staffing assignments were in fact unusual on the day the Delegation visited.

Even after we concluded that, in significant respects, conditions at Krome and the Airport were not "normal" on June 10, we still had to determine the motivations underlying the actions of INS managers who caused the changes in conditions that had occurred. Accordingly, we searched for documents and closely questioned INS employees about who had given what orders on issues pertaining to staffing, the movement of aliens, and related matters in connection with the Delegation's visit. We also discovered -- outside of the INS centralized response to our request for documents -- that key electronic mail messages existed which shed significant light on the motivations of INS managers.

When confronted by these computer records, which appeared to show conclusively that INS managers had been motivated by the imminent arrival of the visiting Delegation to distort conditions at Krome and Miami Airport, certain senior INS officials at the Regional and District levels undertook efforts that slowed and obstructed the OIG investigation. At some point after the allegations had been made, incriminating electronic mail messages were deleted. Even after we had found some inculpatory e-mail messages, senior INS managers were not forthcoming in providing access to their computerized files so that we could search the files for relevant messages. Indeed, senior INS managers refused to provide access to their electronic mail files and eventually did so only upon a direct order from INS Headquarters.

All told, we interviewed more than 450 witnesses, obtained in excess of 200 affidavits, recovered and analyzed thousands of electronic mail messages, reviewed thousands of pages of documents, and reconstructed data for alien movements and staffing issues for many months prior to the Delegation's visit.

III. Principal OIG Findings

A. Allegations Regarding Krome Service Processing Center

The principal allegations concerning Krome involved the transfer, temporary movement, and release of almost 40 percent of the detainee population. Within 48 hours of the Delegation's visit on Saturday afternoon, June 10, approximately 149 detainees of a total of 407 were allegedly moved out of Krome. Most of these aliens were moved in the 24 hours preceding the Delegation's scheduled arrival. We discovered e-mail traffic establishing that senior INS officials at the Regional and District levels concluded on the day before the Delegation's arrival that the alien population at Krome should quickly be reduced. Regional managers approved decisions to decrease the detainee population in ways that District managers later devised. The e-mail messages and testimony by lower-level INS officials confirm that the eleventh-hour alien movements were motivated by the Delegation's visit. The senior INS officials who were said to have approved the transfers unconvincingly denied having done so because of the Delegation's tour. Our specific findings follow.

1) Temporary transfer to Jackson County Jail and New Orleans

We developed substantial credible evidence that, approximately 12 hours before the Delegation was scheduled to tour Krome, the Krome staff filled a bus and sent 45 detainees first to Tampa and then to the Jackson County Jail; 25 of the 45 were eventually transported to an INS facility outside of New Orleans. At the Jackson County Jail, the aliens were housed for three nights because the New Orleans facility accepted aliens only on Tuesdays through Fridays. Because the bus departed Krome in the early hours of Saturday morning, June 10, it was necessary to house the 25 aliens at the Jackson County Jail until Tuesday, June 13, before sending them on to New Orleans. Krome officials knew that the New Orleans facility would not accept these aliens until Tuesday, and that extra expenses would have to be incurred to house them in the Jackson County Jail. We found no other instance in the four months reviewed of a trip originating in Krome destined for New Orleans that began on a Saturd ay, and the testimonial evidence we obtained on this issue confirmed that this trip was extraordinary. In fact, the trip was originally scheduled for Monday, June 12, but was rescheduled at the last minute to begin on June 10.

Our investigation determined that, of the 20 aliens left in Jackson County Jail who were not taken to New Orleans on June 13, 19 were returned to Krome on June 14 (one was released to the community from the Jackson County Jail). It cost approximately $3600 to house these 20 aliens outside of Krome during the Delegation's visit. The total cost for moving the 45 aliens out of Krome before the Delegation arrived was $10,267. After scrutinizing the precise movement and eventual disposition of the 45 aliens, the movements of the INS staff who handled them, and the circumstances in which this trip occurred, we concluded that INS senior managers intentionally changed normal practices for the primary purpose of altering Krome's appearance for the Delegation's visit.

In their response to this allegation, INS managers in Miami falsely characterized the transfer as "ordinary" and "not unusual." After extensive denials, some of the officials responsible for drafting the INS District memoranda to INS Headquarters ultimately admitted that the District had misrepresented the facts to Headquarters and that this allegation in the Complaint was true.

2) Busing Aliens to Key West for Lunch

The Complaint alleged that aliens from Krome were bused to Key West at about the time of the Delegation's visit, given lunch, and returned to Krome. Our investigation did not substantiate this allegation.

By reviewing pertinent records and interviewing the INS officials on duty that day, we learned that on June 9, 36 aliens were transferred by bus from Krome to Key West. Most of them stayed in Key West for 10 days before departing voluntarily from the United States. We tracked the dispositions of the rest of the aliens who had been transferred to Key West. None of these aliens was returned to Krome immediately after the Delegation's visit, as alleged in the Complaint.

Nearly all of the aliens (33) bused to Key West on June 9 had been detained in Operation Tarmac on June 7. Operation Tarmac was a law enforcement initiative to investigate businesses that were purchasing airline tickets for aliens and thereby facilitating their illegal entry into the country. The purpose of detaining these aliens was to develop evidence to assist in the investigation of these companies.

Although we did not substantiate the allegation that the aliens were bused to Key West, given lunch, and returned to Krome, we did establish that the likely origin of this allegation was a flippant remark by an INS manager. More importantly, there is evidence to indicate that it was unusual to transfer to Key West those aliens who would eventually depart voluntarily. Although a number of witnesses stated that the temporary transfers to Key West were not unusual, our survey of records at Krome and Monroe County Jail for the period March 1, 1995 through June 30, 1995, disclosed that the June 9 transfer was the only date on which such a movement occurred. Nonetheless, we were satisfied that the evidence showed that the decision to move the aliens out of Krome was made before instructions were given to quickly decrease the alien population at Krome. The evidence further established that the decision to transfer the aliens was part and parcel of the initial decision to detain them -- which constituted a last minute change by District management. Thus, however unusual this decision might have been, we concluded that it was unrelated to the Task Force visit. Had Miami INS officials been motivated in their handling of these aliens by the Task Force visit, it would have been far simpler to have avoided detaining them in the first place on June 7.

3) Release of Aliens into the Community

The Complaint further asserted that on June 9 and 10, 1995, 54 detainees were released into the local community. The Complaint contended that some of these aliens were known criminals and that aliens paroled from Krome on these days had not been checked medically prior to their release.

In its July 13 and 17 Memoranda, INS Miami management maintained that there was nothing unusual about the releases of 58 aliens who INS management acknowledged had been paroled on June 9-10. It also stated that none of the parolees was a criminal and that all had received medical clearances. The INS management further contended that the releases were not motivated by the visiting Congressional Task Force.

Our investigation established that this response was untrue. We further concluded that the decision to release these large numbers of aliens was a direct response to a decision by senior INS managers at the Regional and District levels to move aliens out of Krome so that the Delegation would not see overcrowding at that facility.

We found that beginning Friday, June 9, and continuing until the Delegation arrived the following day, 58 aliens -- most of whom were Cubans and Haitians -- were released from Krome into the community. Fifty-six of them were released within 24 hours of the Delegation's arrival. Most of these aliens were released in two large groups: one at 4:13 p.m. on June 9, the other at 8:18 a.m. on June 10. Thirty-five of the 58 released aliens had not been medically cleared by the Public Health Service prior to their release from Krome; 34 of the 35 were released on Saturday morning, less than nine hours before the scheduled Congressional visit. We further found that INS files showed that of the 58 aliens released during this period, 4 had criminal records and 36 had no known criminal records. The criminal histories of another 18 aliens were unknown because no documentation existed in Krome's files to show that a criminal history check had been performed. Our investigation found that, in fact, nine aliens who were released had criminal histories. Four of the nine criminal aliens who were released had been charged with such crimes as cocaine trafficking and burglary. The other five criminal aliens who were released had been arrested on criminal immigration-related charges.

We further established that no similar mass release of aliens had occurred from Krome in the prior year. We tracked the surges and declines in Krome's population from August 1994 through July 1995. The only comparable declines in Krome's population were attributable to the implementation of policy decisions that followed from massive influxes of migrants. The large releases on June 9-10 conflicted with stricter release policies imposed by INS Headquarters in May 1995 in response to the Cuban-American accords.

4) Overstaffing at Krome

As part of the deception alleged to have occurred at Krome, the Complaint asserted that INS management assigned detention officers from Orlando and Tampa to work at Krome on the day of the Task Force visit. INS District management denied this allegation in its response to INS Headquarters.

We found that the evidence established that no additional detention officers were assigned to Krome between June 8 and June 10, 1995. We determined that two Orlando-based detention-enforcement officers assisted Tampa-based officers in transporting aliens from Krome to Jackson County Jail, and then on to New Orleans, in the transfer that was precipitated by the Delegation's visit. But we found no evidence from the testimony of Krome detention officers or the documents we reviewed that supported the contention that INS employees had been assigned to Krome at the time of the Congressional visit to give an appearance of greater efficiency at the facility.

B. Allegations Regarding Miami International Airport

In addition to the allegations about Krome, the Complaint asserted that conditions had been altered at the Miami Airport in anticipation of the Task Force visit.

1) Overstaffing at the Airport

The Complaint asserted that INS management increased the staff on duty during the Delegation's visit. According to the Complaint, this move had the effect of creating a perception of greater efficiency than was normally the case at the Airport. Allegedly, the long lines of waiting passengers that were the norm at the Miami Airport were eliminated on June 10 by the addition of more immigration inspectors who were said to have been paid overtime in an improper manner.

Miami INS managers conceded that additional staff worked at the Airport on the day the Delegation visited, but they attempted to justify the additions by saying the personnel were needed to escort the visitors. The managers asserted that they had no incentive to mislead the Task Force with respect to staffing, because it was well known that INS believed Miami Airport to be understaffed. By this reasoning, the true conditions at the Airport would be far more powerful for advocacy purposes than a false picture showing greater efficiency.

Our investigation found the managers' representations to be false. The extra inspectors were not brought in as escorts, and they were in fact paid overtime (and their hours extended to allow for more lucrative overtime). The picture created in the primary inspection area at the moment of the Delegation's walk-through was different from the reality of the Miami Airport at other times.

OIG found that, two days before the Task Force visit, senior Miami District managers met with Airport personnel. At that meeting, District managers made clear that the Airport was to run smoothly during the Delegation's visit, passengers were to be ushered quickly through inspections, and as many additional inspectors as were necessary to achieve these outcomes were to be brought in. The purpose of these instructions was to create an altered appearance of efficiency at the Airport that did not normally exist. District managers also instructed Airport personnel not to complain to the Delegation visitors about the need for more inspectors: they were told not to "whine" about conditions at the Airport.

Our investigation revealed that the Airport supervisors followed these orders and brought in additional supervisors and inspectors, who were paid overtime to work specially for the Task Force visit. On the day of the visit, inspections personnel were reassigned to the primary inspection booths during the Delegation's walk-through of the area. At the time of the Delegation's inspection of the area, 29 out of 36 booths were staffed by inspectors, despite the fact that the primary inspection area was only one-eighth to one-half full with arriving travelers. The number of booths open at that time exceeded by 11 booths -- about 35 percent -- the average of the number of open booths between January and July 1995. Consequently, the Delegation saw a picture different from the reality of everyday conditions at primary inspection.

2) Evacuation of Hard Secondary

The Complaint also alleged that normal procedures for the incarceration of aliens at the Airport were violated to convey a picture of calm, order, and safety in a section of the inspection area known as "hard secondary." In hard secondary, INS officials continue their inspection -- and incarcerate in adjoining holding cells if appropriate -- aliens who are ineligible for admission into the United States. We found that no written criteria exist for determining when an alien should be held in a hard secondary cell, but the custom and practice at Miami Airport is to place an alien in a detention cell in hard secondary if the alien has an active arrest warrant; possesses fraudulent documents; has no documents at all; is dangerous; or poses a risk of flight.

We found substantial credible evidence that, at the June 8 meeting at the Airport to prepare for the Task Force visit, senior District officials directed Airport personnel to keep the detention cells in hard secondary "clean," a term that was meant and understood to mean that the cells should be kept empty. Furthermore, Airport personnel were instructed that only criminal aliens were to be kept in the hard secondary detention cells, which was inconsistent with the custom and practice of INS at the Miami Airport. This instruction served the purpose of ensuring that the fewer aliens would be in cells during the Delegation's tour. In addition, Airport personnel were told that children were not to be placed in the cells, even though children were routinely kept there if they were accompanying an adult who qualified for incarceration in the cells.

Shortly before the Delegation touched down at Miami Airport at approximately 1 p.m., approximately eight aliens were in the hard secondary holding cells. At around 12 noon, they were moved from the holding cells and placed in the hard secondary waiting area. Two of these aliens, who were criminals, were returned to the cells before the Delegation's visit. Others, who had entered the United States on fraudulent documents or otherwise posed a flight risk, were permitted to sit in the hard secondary seating area during the Delegation's visit. Our investigation found that at least six aliens who ordinarily would have been incarcerated were seated in the hard secondary area without any restraints at the time of the Delegation's walk-through. The immigration inspectors on duty that day characterized the actual conditions in hard secondary as highly unusual and noted the marked change in appearance during the period the Delegation was present.

Directions were also given to airport personnel on what to say if a member of the Delegation asked what kinds of aliens were placed in the hard secondary detention cells. A high-level INS District official directed INS employees to answer that only criminal aliens were held in these cells, even though it was well known that other reasons existed for such detention. During the Delegation's tour of hard secondary, a question was asked about the types of aliens held in the detention cells; an Immigration Inspector falsely responded that only criminal aliens were so detained. Senior managers were aware of this misrepresentation when it occurred but did nothing to correct it.

In its management response, the INS Miami District did not specifically deny the allegation that aliens were removed from hard secondary holding cells but implied that no aliens had been removed prior to the Delegation's arrival. In fact, several aliens were removed from the cells and placed in the hard secondary seating area. Management further asserted that the secondary inspection logs for that day reflected the detention of only two aliens in the cells during the time of the Delegation's visit. The logs were recognized by Airport staff to be unreliable, and this statement was only partially correct, since six others had been moved out of the cells and placed in the seating area approximately one hour before the Delegation arrived at hard secondary.

3) Alleged Order to Remove Gear Belts

The INS employees also complained that they had been instructed to remove their leather belts, which contained a firearm holster, ammunition pouches, and handcuffs. The ostensible purpose of this instruction, according to the Union, was for management to present a "kinder, gentler" image of the immigration inspectors. Union officials took offense at this instruction because it exposed them to possible danger if an incident occurred that day and because it undermined their efforts to secure law enforcement status for immigration inspectors.

Management responded to this allegation by essentially admitting it was true, noting that certain routine uniform standards were in effect for the Congressional visit. Management further asserted that INS policy prohibited inspectors from carrying firearms while performing primary inspections, and maintained that the District's position had been to contain handcuffs in leather cases so that they did not dangle. Despite OIG requests, INS never presented any written policy statements to support these positions.

Our investigation revealed a disconnection between the INS policy now in effect, which permits immigration inspectors to carry firearms in certain circumstances, and INS Miami District management's perception of the applicable policy that immigration inspectors at airports were prohibited from carrying firearms. The latter was true under a 1986 policy statement, but had been superseded in 1989, apparently unbeknownst to Miami District management. We found no written policy in Miami addressing the proper standards for leather gear. In terms of custom and practice at the Airport, our investigation revealed that most inspectors do not typically wear their gear belts when performing primary inspections. A significant number, however, do carry such equipment to facilitate their moving quickly into duties requiring a firearm, such as escorting a departing alien to a plane.

We further determined that Miami senior managers instructed supervisory inspectors to prohibit immigration inspectors from wearing their leather gear on the day the Task Force visited. This instruction was given at the June 8 preparatory meeting at the Airport. We found, therefore, that the instruction given to prohibit inspectors from wearing their leather gear was a departure from custom and practice at the Airport and that it was unsupported by any written policy.

4) Exclusion of the Union

Finally, the Complaint maintained that employees had not been informed about the Delegation visit and that Union officials had been intentionally excluded from the tour, which prevented the Union from representing employee interests. The Complaint alleged that Union officials were threatened with arrest if they ignored the order to stay away from the Delegation.

The evidence supports the view expressed in the Complaint that Miami managers never formally notified the Union about the upcoming Delegation visit. The Union was essentially excluded from the visit, except to the extent that Union officials were allowed at the last minute to accompany the touring Delegation during part of its visit. Our investigation also substantiated the allegation that Union officials were threatened with arrest by INS managers if they attempted to join the Delegation during a secure briefing. The Union officials subsequently left the scene.

Management ignored the lack of notice issue in its response to INS Headquarters and focused on the alleged threats to Union officials. Miami managers admitted to OIG that they had attempted to exclude the Union from joining the Delegation's tour, but believed the exclusion to be justified because of the potential for disruption, especially in light of tense relations between Union and management officials in the Miami District.

C. Alleged Shredding of Documents

After we began our investigation, anonymous information was received alleging that INS management personnel were shredding documents believed to be relevant to this investigation. We questioned people said to have knowledge about this allegation, as well as the employees who were alleged to have done the shredding. No one admitted to any shredding, and we found no credible evidence to support the allegation.

IV. OIG Disciplinary Recommendations

Based on our findings, we recommend that certain INS senior managers be disciplined as a result of their actions in connection with the Delegation's visit and in connection with our investigation. We find particularly egregious the orders given to move aliens out of Krome, which resulted in the unnecessary transfer of aliens, the incurring of unnecessary costs, and, most seriously, the release of criminal aliens and aliens who had not been given medical checks prior to their release into the community. Those responsible made these decisions primarily to create a false impression of conditions at Krome for the visiting Delegation.

Although less serious, the decisions on how to assign staff at the Airport and to alter the detention situation in hard secondary conveyed an attitude about the Congressional fact-finding process that warrants strong condemnation. It is one thing to instruct personnel to comport themselves professionally because of the arrival of VIPs and to "scrub the decks" to present a clean and tidy work place. It is entirely different to give instructions that increase the risk of a public safety incident and that run counter to the very mission of the agency.

The deception continued when Miami officials were called by Headquarters to respond to the allegations. The written responses by the Miami District conveyed misleading information in certain aspects and false information in others. In only a few particulars were these memoranda factually correct. For INS to function properly, Headquarters must be able to demand truthfulness and accuracy from its subordinate offices. Those responsible for misleading Headquarters thus should be sanctioned.

Finally, the extraordinary lengths to which OIG had to go to uncover the truth further demonstrate a contempt by certain INS officials for the OIG investigation. Having misled Congress and their own managers in Headquarters, these officials refused to tell the truth to OIG investigators. Even when confronted with documentary and testimonial evidence, senior officials responsible for the initial decisions to mislead the Delegation refused to acknowledge their role in these deceptions.

Because of constraints imposed by law, we have not made the names of these persons public in this summary, but have referred our findings to the Department of Justice for evaluation of possible criminal prosecution and for appropriate disciplinary action.

V. OIG Recommendations Regarding Needed Systemic Reforms

In conducting this investigation, we encountered issues that we believe require systemic reform within INS. Some of the issues have already been addressed implicitly in the section of the report dealing with administrative sanctions against certain employees. These include taking steps to guard against deception of Congress when it visits facilities on fact-finding missions; accurately responding to allegations of misconduct; taking allegations seriously and not discounting them simply because of their source; and cooperating fully with investigations that examine allegations of employee misconduct.

Apart from these concerns, which bear no greater elaboration, we also take note of the following issues requiring more systemic reform.

First, strong signals should be sent by the Commissioner regarding INS cooperation with OIG investigations. INS top management must take responsibility for ensuring prompt, complete, and diligent responses to requests for information and evidence. In the future, INS top management should take stronger steps to ensure that INS employees rigorously and honestly search their paper files and computer systems, and should take strong administrative action against those who do not. Moreover, our investigation discovered grave discrepancies in the INS record keeping systems at Krome and the Miami Airport. We found that the paper records kept manually did not comport with computerized files purporting to memorialize the same information. Particularly as to alien movements, these discrepancies pose serious problems. Some aliens simply could not be accounted for in Krome's records -- a fact that must be remedied. Our audit staff has discussed these discrepancies with Miami District mana gers, but a follow-up check should be made by INS to ensure that these remedies have taken hold. In addition, spot checks should be undertaken to ensure that the same problems do not exist in other INS district offices.

Written policies should also be formulated for the handling of aliens in hard secondary at the Airport. At present, unwritten custom or practice calls for detention in certain circumstances. On the day of the Congressional visit, the normal procedures were abandoned so that the Delegation would not see as many people -- including children -- in cells. But the absence of a written policy has the potential to create confusion and contribute to inconsistent treatment of aliens depending on the Airport at which they should happen to land. Policies regarding the handling, documentation, and processing of medical checks on aliens to be released should also be reviewed and reassessed to determine whether changes should be made or more training implemented. The same should be done with respect to release of aliens with criminal histories.

Finally, we have significant doubts about the existing management in the Eastern Region and the Miami District and question whether top managers in those offices should retain their current positions. The conduct of these officials in the context of the Congressional visit and during the course of this investigation is very disturbing, all the more so since the most egregious conduct was committed by persons in positions of substantial responsibility and leadership.

VI. Conclusion

Fact-finding is crucial to the formulation of public policy. Distortions in the images created and in the facts conveyed to legislative decision makers cause potentially long-term harm to Congress' ability to formulate legislation and oversee Executive Branch performance. Whether the distorted images created by INS managers affected the formulation of policy proposals in pending immigration reform legislation is unknown.

Significant OIG resources were expended to uncover the truth about these allegations. We consciously made this determination because of our perception that strong signals needed to be sent that false impressions conveyed to Congress in fact-finding missions would be uncovered; that efforts to cover up and inhibit OIG investigative efforts would be thwarted; and that responsible persons would be called to account for their actions. We have transmitted a copy of our report to the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division for evaluation as to the appropriateness of criminal prosecution, as well as to the Attorney General for consideration of appropriate discipline. Even if our investigation does not result in the prosecution of any official, we are sufficiently troubled by the actions of certain INS managers that we seriously question whether they should remain in their present positions.