U.S. Visit reporting falls short: GAO

The Homeland Security Department's U.S. Visit program is only half succeeding at justifying its expenditures to Congress, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

In a 143-page report, the GAO reviewed the status of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Technology program, which records biometric information for all foreign visitors. While three of Congress' requirements have been fulfilled, another three requirements leave significant gaps, the report said.

The fiscal 2006 expenditure plan "does not provide sufficient justification for all planned U.S. Visit expenditures," the report said.

Because of the limited reporting, Congress' ability to oversee the program is restricted, the GAO concluded, and Congress does not have sufficient information to provide effective oversight of the program.

The report also takes DHS to task for not reporting to Congress on how it intends to coordinate U.S. Visit with other programs for identifying and tracks visitors, such as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

About the Author

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

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