Alleged Deception of Congress: The Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform's
Fact-finding Visit to the Miami District of INS in June, 1995

II. The OIG Investigation [ For the convenience of the reader, a list of witnesses and participants in the events at issue in this investigation has been attached as Appendix 11. To enable the reader to better understand the institutional lines of authority among the participants in the events described in this report at the time they occurred, various tables of organization have been adapted for that purpose and are attached as Appendix 12 through Appendix 16.]

Given the specificity of the allegations and the fact that INS Headquarters had requested a formal response from INS Miami District officials, our general approach to this investigation was as follows: (1) we attempted to determine, to the greatest extent possible, what the facts were with respect to the allegations; (2) because the allegations generally asserted variances from normal operations, we attempted to assess the extent to which decisions made by INS officials in the June 10, 1995, time period varied from the norm, if at all; and (3) finally, because INS senior managers denied being influenced by the Congressional Task Force visit, we attempted to ascertain the motivation behind decisions made in the June 10, 1995, time period, to the extent possible.

Because the allegations had been made publicly, OIG first interviewed INS Miami District Director Walter Cadman. Cadman was interviewed before any other facts had been established to obtain his response to the allegations in the context of an investigative interview. Cadman provided documentation in support of his claim that no deception had taken place. At the time of the interview, Cadman waived his rights, signed the OIG Non-Custodial Warnings and Assurances ofRights form, [ The form Cadman signed is attached hereto at Appendix 17. It memorializes that the signing witness understands that he is waiving the right to remain silent, that information obtained in the interviews may be used against him in a criminal or administrative proceeding, and that the interview is voluntary and may be terminated at any time by the witness.] and consented to a voluntary interview.

Shortly after Cadman's initial interview, at the Inspector General's request, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Mary Jo White agreed to detail Assistant United States Attorney Maxine S. Pfeffer to the OIG to lead the OIG investigative team under the supervision of the Inspector General. The OIG then proceeded to interview members of the Union. On July 20 and 21, 1995, four members of the Union were interviewed. After these interviews, the investigative teams were divided into two groups, one for the allegations concerning the Miami Airport and one for Krome.

Early on, we decided to conduct a "bottom up" investigation into the allegations by interviewing the employees at the bottom of the chain of command first. In this way we could best determine what had actually occurred, who had given orders, and how they had been put into effect. As the investigation moved up the chain of command, this approach enabled the team of investigators to confront higher-level managers with the recollections of those who reported to them. In this way, the team could better assess the credibility of more senior-level employees by comparing their statements with the accumulated recollections of those who had already been interviewed.

Accordingly, at Miami Airport we interviewed every available Immigration Inspector who worked during the Delegation's visit or had knowledge about it. We then interviewed the Supervisory Immigration Inspectors, Assistant Port Directors, Deputy Port Director, and Port Director. With each group of employee interviews, the team moved up the chain of command. After the Port Director interview, we moved up to the Miami District managers and their staff. The team interviewed the Assistant District Director for Inspections and other pertinent staff members.

At Krome, the investigative team employed the same strategy by interviewing Detention Enforcement Officers and Deportation Officers before the interviews of Supervisory Detention Enforcement Officers, the Supervisory Deportation Officer, and the Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer, who is also the Krome Camp Administrator. After the Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer wasinterviewed, we moved to the Assistant District Director for Detention and Deportation and other pertinent staff.

Upon completing the interviews of the Assistant District Directors for Inspection and Detention and Deportation, we sought to interview the INS Miami Deputy District Director. Until this point, INS employees had universally agreed to be interviewed on a voluntary basis. Deputy District Director Valerie Blake, however, refused to do so. Accordingly, OIG was forced to begin what would become a six-month process to administratively compel key witnesses to testify.

The consequences of requiring an employee to submit to an administratively compelled interview are significant. This step immunizes the person interviewed from criminal prosecution based on the statements made during the administratively compelled interview. The OIG does not have legal authority to make prosecutive decisions. For this reason, only after the Department's Criminal Division determines that a particular subject is more valuable as a witness than as a target for criminal prosecution can the OIG administratively compel interviews of witnesses. Because of the nature of this case, we submitted the evidence gathered to the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section (Public Integrity). Lawyers from that section requested that we proceed with the administratively compelled interviews one by one, with a decision on whether to compel the witness based on all the relevant evidence developed with respect to that witness. Thus, after interviewing the INS Miami District Depu ty Director, we submitted evidence gathered to Public Integrity with respect to the District Director, who also had advised us that he would no longer testify voluntarily.

Based on the records obtained and interviews conducted in Florida and Louisiana, it became essential to do interviews in Burlington, Vermont (INS Eastern Regional Office) and Washington, D.C. (INS Headquarters). At the INS Eastern Region and Headquarters, interviews were also sequentially conducted through the chain of command. In both locations voluminous documents were obtained and computer records analyzed. The final two people at the INS Eastern Regional Office to be interviewed were the Deputy Regional Director and the Regional Director. Both individuals refused to cooperate voluntarily and had to be administratively compelled to testify.

The process of preparing submissions for and receiving guidance from the Criminal Division was time-consuming, but it was essential to this investigation inlight of the legal position taken by various INS upper management witnesses. The Criminal Division needed adequate time to study the voluminous evidence that the OIG had gathered in order to reach a responsible determination. That decision, in turn, required a careful balancing of possible criminal culpability against the prospect that useful evidence would be developed against others. A responsible approach required that immunity not be conferred on more individuals than was reasonably necessary and that great care be exercised to assure that more culpable individuals were not inadvertently immunized because evidence of their complicity had not been adequately developed prior to determining that administratively compelled interviews were appropriate. Thus, it was necessary that each interview conducted be carefully evaluat ed before additional compelled interviews were authorized. The final three interviews at INS Headquarters were of the Commissioner's Chief of Staff, the Deputy Commissioner, and the Commissioner. These three witnesses cooperated voluntarily with our requests for interviews.

In addition to INS personnel, OIG interviewed personnel who had relevant information concerning the allegations from the Dade County Aviation Department; Community Relations Service; Monroe County Sheriff's Department; and INS employees from Tampa and Orlando, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Burlington, Vermont; Washington, D.C.; and New York City. During the course of this investigation, special agents obtained, reviewed and analyzed relevant records and electronic data, conducted over 340 interviews, and took approximately 200 sworn affidavits to determine the facts about the allegations set forth by the INS Miami employees.

Moreover, we learned early in the investigation that we could not rely on the accuracy of INS records. Too many discrepancies and variances existed for us to be satisfied that we could adequately assess whether such issues as the movement of aliens had been accurately recorded in INS record systems. To form an adequate empirical basis on which to base judgments, therefore, we sent a team of auditors from the OIG's Atlanta, Georgia, Regional Audit Office to Miami to accumulate, reconstruct, recompute and analyze INS records. Auditors conducted more than 100 interviews of witnesses and reviewed thousands of pages of documents.

Such work was necessary to evaluate statistically some basic propositions that went to the heart of the allegations in the Complaint: Were more aliens transferred or released from Krome just prior to the Delegation's arrival than was typical? Were more Immigration Inspectors at work on the day the Task Force arrived than were usually on duty? And were the actions of the INS Miami District "normal" with respect to the use of overtime and treatment of aliens at or around the time of the Task Force visit? Absent a clear historical record of such matters in the weeks and months preceding the Task Force visit, it would have been impossible to assess whether the Miami District's actions at the time of the Delegation's visit deviated from the norm, except to the extent we could establish explicit and acknowledged policy decisions.

By reconstructing and analyzing such issues as staffing and treatment of aliens in the months preceding the Task Force visit, we were able to closely question INS managers about decisions made just prior to the visit that bore on the picture presented to the Task Force. This information also enabled us to make conclusions about the extent to which certain aspects of the conditions at the Airport and at Krome were artificially created solely because of the Delegation's visit.

The list of issues addressed by the auditors was changed and refined based on data available for review, testimony of INS Miami personnel, and the time frame considered sufficient to make statistical comparisons. The specific methodology utilized is set forth in this report under various "Allegation" and "Method and Scope of Investigation" headings in the body of this report.

Each allegation presented a unique set of documents that needed to be located, collected, and analyzed, along with personnel who had to be interviewed for their specific knowledge of the events and activities. After the very first meeting between OIG personnel and Cadman on July 17, Cadman instructed the INS Miami senior staff to preserve and produce all relevant documents to OIG pursuant to an OIG request. Thereafter, witnesses were asked whether they knew of relevant documents as a means of cross-checking those that had been or would be produced. In the first seven weeks of the investigation, 14 different people provided documents to OIG. To ensure that we were obtaining all relevant documents, OIG formally requested documents from INS on September 8, 1995. This request included all relevant letters, memoranda, notes, and electronic mail messages. Despite OIG's request for a centralized response to a request fordocuments, INS never fully complied. From September 1995 throug h February 1996, many different INS employees provided OIG with documents, many of which had not been transmitted previously in response to OIG's September 8 request. Accordingly, on February 14, 1996, OIG made another request for documents and asked that any additional materials be produced no later than February 20. On February 20, 1996, the Eastern Region responded by saying that it had no additional materials. [ The Region did, however, finally agree to give OIG copies of its backup tapes of e-mails that had been previously requested.] On February 23, 1996, INS Headquarters similarly responded that there were no additional documents for production. At the very same time, OIG was in the process of obtaining relevant documents in connection with its interviews of INS Headquarters staff members. Even after this second effort to obtain a centralized, comprehensive response to a document request, five different INS employees during or after interviews separately provided OIG wi th documents that had not been previously provided.

Our findings, therefore, are based on a significant investigative effort that included over 450 interviews by OIG audit and investigative personnel, the review of thousands of pages of documents, and the reconstruction and review over four thousand electronic mail messages. The invocation of constitutional rights by senior-level INS managers caused a significant delay in the investigation, as did INS's failure to fully and completely respond to requests for documents at the beginning of this investigation. A discussion of INS's level of cooperation with the investigation appears in Section V.B. of this report.