IG report: Visa violator enforcement systems lacking

The government's systems for identifying, locating and apprehending aliens who have violated the terms of their U.S. visits are inadequate to the task, according to a new report from Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard Skinner.

The study looked at the systems deployed by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its Compliance Enforcement Unit (CEU). Out of 142,816 leads on suspected overstays during 2004, 4,164 cases were referred to field officers, resulting in 671 apprehensions.

"CEU depends on systems that are incomplete," the report concluded. "The sum of deficiencies in the systems, in CEU's output and other factors in the apprehension and removal process, results in a minimal impact in reducing the number of overstays in the United States."

The enforcement unit receives leads on violations from the U.S. Visit Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (U.S. Visit), Student and Exchange Visitor Information Systems, and the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. In 2004, CEU received more than 300,000 violator leads from those three programs, according to the IG report.

Other sources of leads include visa revocations by the State Department and biometric referrals based on matched fingerprints with the National Crime Information Center.

Much of CEU's work is to check on various databases within the government to determine if the potential violators have left the country or have changed their status.

However, many of the leads prove invalid or not actionable. A major shortcoming in the systems is the lack of an exit-control database within U.S. Visit, the IG said.

The systems also are plagued by delays. Of more than 14,000 referrals examined, 49 percent had not been processed by CEU after two months. The time lag is significant because the aliens may change location over time, making apprehension more difficult.

Skinner recommended that the CEU address "data quality issues" with the referring agencies to generate more actionable leads, assess CEU workflows and develop standard operating procedures.

CEU officials, in their response, said they had taken steps to address the findings.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.