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tigations and the Detention and Deportation section were made part of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs enforcement.
This change has not only created havoc between the two agencies but competition as well. Removing the investigations element from the border patrol has the same effect that going to a major police department and taking away their detective force would have.
You now have two major agencies within an agency operating close to the border that are enforcing immigration laws. It is almost impossible to determine who is in charge and who is responsible. When outside law enforcement agencies have a question they often get the run around.
I believe that along the border there is less cooperation taking place and more confusion now between agencies than there was prior to 9/11.
Interior enforcement has also been adversely effected by this organization. The former Customs Service was already overwhelmed with enforcement missions prior to the re-organization. Adding Immigration enforcement to their responsibility is tasking them with an impossible mission.
Interior Immigration enforcement prior to the re-organization was an impossible task for the old INS because of lack of resources and effective laws. It is my understanding that many of the present supervisors and upper management people under BICE are legacy Customs officers. They do not have the years of experience that it takes to understand the complexities of Immigration law. Many of them view immigration enforcement as a thankless and impossible mission.
I would suggest in the strongest language that I can muster that this present organizational structure be re-examined. I would recommend that the Legacy INS enforcement components be brought back together under DHS. I believe if they are given the proper manpower, technology, most importantly new laws with strong enforcement provisions that they can accomplish their mission.
Thank you for allowing me to submit this written statement to your important committee.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE When the Bush Administration established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, it split up the U.S. Customs Service and the Bureau of Border Security and reconfigured them into two bureaus, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The basic responsibility of CBP is to prevent illegal persons and goods from crossing the border. ICE is responsible for tracking down these persons and goods if they get past CBP.
This reorganization has resulted in some coordination problems. For instance, the training for daily border security operations is not working well. Supervisors from one legacy agency at a port-of-entry have not received the training to answer technical questions of inspectors from another legacy agency. Inspectors often are told just to do things the way they used to do them.
Much of the information sharing that is occurring at the border is due to existing personal relationships among employees, not to formal systems for exchanging information. For example, legacy Customs employees still cannot access immigration databases. This means a legacy Customs inspector cannot work at an immigration secondary inspection point, which reduces the overall flexibility of the workforce the Department is striving for.
Sometimes, to facilitate an investigation, ICE investigators want contraband to be allowed to pass through the border. This is known as, “a controlled delivery." While this is a legitimate investigatory method, it is contrary to CBP's mission, which is to prevent contraband from passing through the border. Consequently, ICE's use of controlled deliveries has created difficulties with CBP. ICE and CBP have formed a working group to develop a protocol for controlled deliveries that will resolve this conflict.
Alien smuggling investigations have suffered too. In INS, alien smuggling cases traditionally arose from inspectors, border patrol agents, or adjudicators noticing patterns or trends. The dissolution of INS has cut the connections between the agents who investigate alien smuggling and the front line personnel. Also, fewer Customs investigations have been generated by leads from inspectors.
To a great extent, however, CBP and ICE are suffering from the same management problems that INS had before DHS was created and the immigration enforcement functions were separated. In 1997, GAO reported that INS lacked clearly defined priorities and goals and that its organizational structure was fragmented both programmatically and geographically. Additionally, field managers had difficulty determining whom to coordinate with, when to coordinate, and how to communicate with one
another because they were unclear about headquarters offices' responsibilities and authority. GAO also reported that INS had not adequately defined the roles of its two key enforcement programs, Border Patrol and investigations, which resulted in overlapping responsibilities, inconsistent program implementation, and ineffective use of resources. INS's poor communications led to weaknesses in policies and procedures.
In 2004, GAO reported that CBP and ICE have many of the same management challenges that INS had. For example, in some areas related to investigative techniques and other operations, unresolved issues regarding roles and responsibilities give rise to disagreements and confusion. While initial steps have been taken to integrate the former immigration and customs investigators, such as establishing cross-training and pay parity, additional important steps remained to be completed to fully integrate investigators.
INS was a dysfunctional agency. When its enforcement responsibilities were taken over by DHS, they were divided between two new bureaus. The purpose of today's hearing is to decide whether the enforcement functions should be consolidated again. If the problem were just structural in nature, consolidation might make sense; but the problem is not just structural in nature. The bureaus still have serious management difficulties that need to be addressed. Our witness, Rich Stana, from GAO, will elaborate on the nature of these problems.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN ELTON GALLEGLY Thank you for holding this hearing, Mr. Chairman.
The dual mission of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is troubling to me. It is troubling to me because I spent years, next to many who still sit on this subcommittee today, aggravated by the dual mission of the former INS. At the former INS, the “service” mission of the organization continually conflicted with the “enforcement" mission.
Now, again, we find the immigration enforcement authority in the same pickle. Lumped into a dual mission organization with customs enforcement, interior enforcement is still lacking. If management is any indication, priority has been given to the customs functions.
Increasingly large numbers of illegal immigrants are entering the country. By some estimates, they number more than a million a year. Why are they coming here? Many come for jobs. If there is no meaningful enforcement in the interior, the illegal immigration problem in this country will never get better, and may continue to get worse.
I am interested to hear from the witnesses about the dual missions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and about how these missions impede the effective enforcement of the law.
I yield back my time.