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& testimony before the Subcommittee on Immigration. Border Security, and Claims Commillee on the Judiciary. House of Representatives
Highlights of CA0-05-561
May 5, 2005
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Why GAO Did This Study
The Department of Homeland
What GAO Found
A number of similar management challenges that had been experienced by
In evaluating solutions to ICE and CBP' management challenges, including
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to be here today to share our views on management challenges relating to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), whose functions were formerly under the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Customs Service, as this committee considers potential structural changes to enhance the enforcement of immigration laws. We have conducted numerous reviews of both specific programs and overall management in these components, and at the legacy agencies that preceded them. In my testimony today, I will discuss the following topics:
A number of management challenges similar to those found at INS have
competing priorities, effective internal and external communications and coordination, and automation systems that provide accurate and timely information. We noted that unless these elements were established, enforcing our immigration laws, providing services to eligible aliens, and effectively participating in the government wide efforts to combat terrorism would be problematic regardless of how the immigration function was organized. In March 2003, the enforcement functions of the INS were transferred to the new DHS and placed in the newly-created ICE and CBP. In 2004, we reported that many similar management challenges we found at INS were in existence in the new bureaus.
In evaluating solutions to ICE and CBP management challenges, including potential structural changes, several factors may be considered. The first factor is whether ICE and CBP currently have a good management framework in place. Such a management framework, among other items, would include a clearly defined and articulated mission, a comprehensive strategic planning process for achieving the mission, an organizational alignment that supports the mission and strategy, performance measures to gauge their progress, and leadership and accountability mechanisms. The second factor is whether ICE and CBP have developed systems and processes to support such a management framework which assists management in resolving management challenges. For example, we have noted problems with ICE's disseminating guidance related to operational activities. The third factor involves recognizing that the management challenges in these two bureaus exist in the broader context of the creation and evolution of DHS the largest reorganization of the federal government in over 50 years. The experience of successful transformations and change management initiatives in large public and private organizations suggests that it can take 5-7 years until such initiatives are fully implemented and cultures are transformed in a substantial manner. Further, some management challenges at ICE and CBP might be affected by department-wide management initiatives. We designated DHS's transformation as a high-risk area in 2003.
Immigration functions also include providing services or benefits to facilitate entry, residence, employment, and naturalization of legal immigrants; processing millions of applications each year, making the right adjudicative decision in approving or denying the applications; and rendering decisions in a timely manner.
When INS was abolished in 2003 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002,' its enforcement functions were transferred to two bureaus within the DHS. First, INS's interior enforcement programs investigations, intelligence, and detention and removal-were placed in ICE. Within ICE, investigators and intelligence analysts from former INS and the U.S. Customs Service were merged into the investigations and intelligence offices, while staff from former INS's detention and removal program were placed in the detention and removal office. Second, inspectors from former INS, Customs, and Agriculture and Plant Health Inspection Service, as well as former INS's Border Patrol agents were incorporated into CBP. Both CBP and ICE report to the Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, who in turn reports to the Deputy Secretary of the DHS. For service functions, INS's Immigration Services Division, responsible for processing applications for immigration benefits, was placed in Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), which reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of DHS. Figure 1 shows the transition of INS functions into DHS.