oversight

Illegal Immigration: Southwest Border Strategy Results Inconclusive; More Evaluation Needed

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-12-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                United States General Accounting Office

GAO             Report to the Committee on the
                Judiciary, U.S. Senate and the
                Committee on the Judiciary, House of
                Representatives

December 1997
                ILLEGAL
                IMMIGRATION
                Southwest Border
                Strategy Results
                Inconclusive; More
                Evaluation Needed




GAO/GGD-98-21
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      General Government Division

      B-276689

      December 11, 1997

      The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman
      The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on the Judiciary
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Henry J. Hyde, Chairman
      The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on the Judiciary
      House of Representatives

      Illegal immigration has been a long-standing problem. The U.S.
      Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
      estimated there were about 5 million illegal aliens residing in the United
      States in October 1996, and their numbers increased at an average rate of
      about 275,000 per year between October 1992 and October 1996. Congress
      and states with large illegal immigrant populations have raised concerns
      about illegal immigrants’ fiscal impact on government programs,
      participation in criminal activities, and overall effect on local economies.

      In February 1994, the Attorney General announced a broad, five-part
      strategy to strengthen enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws (see
      app. I). The strategy’s first priority was to deter illegal entry by
      strengthening border enforcement, particularly along the southwest
      border of the United States. Since February 1994, the Justice Department
      and INS—the primary Justice Department agency charged with enforcing
      the nation’s immigration laws—have issued various documents and
      produced strategies intended to reinforce and better define the Attorney
      General’s overall strategy to deter illegal entry. Within INS, the Border
      Patrol is responsible for preventing illegal entry along the border between
      the nation’s ports of entry, and the Inspections program is responsible for
      preventing illegal entry at the ports of entry. For ease of presentation, and
      unless otherwise noted, we use the term “strategy” in this report to refer to
      various documents, including policy directives and strategies, that have
      been issued by the Attorney General, INS’ Border Patrol, and INS’
      Inspections program as well as others.

      The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996
      (1996 Act) mandates us to track, monitor, and evaluate the Attorney
      General’s strategy to deter illegal entry into the United States and to report



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                   annually for 6 years.1 As agreed with your committees, this report focuses
                   on the strategy to deter illegal entry along the southwest border.
                   Specifically, the report addresses (1) what the strategy calls for;
                   (2) actions taken to implement the strategy along the southwest border;
                   (3) whether available data confirm the strategy’s hypotheses, with respect
                   to expected initial results from the strategy’s implementation along the
                   southwest border; and (4) the types of indicators that would be needed to
                   evaluate the Attorney General’s strategy to deter illegal entry along the
                   southwest border. Our future reports will address various other aspects of
                   the Attorney General’s five-part strategy to deter illegal entry.


                   To carry out the priority to strengthen the detection of and deterrence to
Results in Brief   illegal entry along the border, the Attorney General’s strategy called for the
                   Border Patrol to (1) allocate additional Border Patrol resources in a
                   four-phased approach starting first with the areas of highest known illegal
                   activity; (2) make maximum use of physical barriers; (3) increase the
                   proportion of time Border Patrol agents spend on border enforcement
                   activities; and (4) identify the appropriate mix of technology, equipment,
                   and personnel needed for the Border Patrol. At ports of entry along the
                   southwest border, the strategy called for the Inspections program to
                   increase inspector staff and use additional technology to increase the
                   deterrence to and detection of illegal entry and improve management of
                   legal traffic and commerce. The strategy also called for implementing
                   sanctions against aliens who attempt fraudulent entry, and using
                   technology.

                   Since the strategy was issued in 1994, INS has made progress in
                   implementing some, but not all, aspects of the strategy. As of
                   September 1997, the Border Patrol had nearly completed Phase I of its
                   strategy, which was to focus resources in the areas of highest known
                   illegal activity (the San Diego and El Paso sectors) and was moving into
                   phase II, which is to focus resources in the next highest known areas (the
                   Tucson sector and in south Texas). Thus, the Border Patrol has allocated
                   additional agents in general accordance with the strategy. As called for in
                   the strategy, INS had added barriers along the southwest border, although
                   more barriers are reportedly still needed. The strategy also called for
                   increasing border enforcement activity, as measured by the proportion of
                   time Border Patrol agents collectively spent on border enforcement. The
                   total number of hours spent on border enforcement activities in the
                   southwest border sectors has been increasing since 1994 because the

                   1
                    P.L. 104-208, sec. 107.



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number of Border Patrol agents increased. However, the proportion of
time Border Patrol agents at the southwest border collectively spent on
border enforcement activities did not increase between 1994 and the first
half of 1997; rather the proportion remained the same at about 59 percent.
The Border Patrol has not identified the most appropriate mix of staffing
and other resources needed for its Border Patrol sectors as called for in
the strategy. The Border Patrol is developing a computerized staffing
model to help it identify the right mix of staffing and technology.

At the southwest border land ports of entry, INS has added about 800
inspector positions since fiscal year 1994, thereby increasing its on-board
strength to about 1,300, as of March 1997. To help achieve its goal of
increasing deterrence to illegal entry, INS has also instituted various
enforcement initiatives including increased prosecutions of aliens
presenting false documents and has been pilot testing various technologies
to improve operations. INS has also been planning for the implementation
of various border control requirements that Congress mandated in the
1996 Act.2

INS and other data indicate that some of the initial results of the strategy’s
implementation along the southwest border correspond with the expected
results stated in the strategy. However, sufficient data were not available
for us to determine whether other expected results have occurred.
According to the strategy, the concentration of resources in phases would
make it more difficult and costly for illegal aliens to cross the border, and
many would ultimately be deterred from entering altogether. The strategy
expected (1) an eventual reduction in illegal alien apprehensions in areas
where control is gained; (2) a shift in the flow of illegal alien traffic from
sectors that traditionally accounted for most illegal immigration activity to
other sectors; (3) increased attempts to enter illegally through the ports of
entry; (4) increases in the costs of illegal alien smuggling, and the use of
more sophisticated tactics to smuggle illegal aliens into the country; (5) a
decrease in attempted reentries by those who have previously been
apprehended; and (6) reduced violence at the border.

INSdata indicated that, as a percentage of total apprehensions along the
southwest border, apprehensions of illegal aliens have decreased in the
two sectors that in 1993 accounted for the most apprehensions and
received the first influx of new resources—San Diego and El Paso. In
addition, INS’ apprehension data and other anecdotal data are consistent

2
 Provisions in Subtitle A, Title I of the 1996 Act require INS to take several actions to improve
enforcement at the border. Appendix II discusses the status of the actions not discussed elsewhere in
the report.



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with a shift in attempted illegal entries from the San Diego and El Paso
sectors to other sectors and from the traditional entry corridors within the
San Diego, El Paso, and Tucson sectors to other locations within those
sectors. As the Border Patrol added resources between the ports of entry,
some ports along the southwest border experienced increases in aliens
using fraudulent documents and making false claims to United States
citizenship to attempt to enter the United States, but other ports did not,
according to INS data and INS officials. INS intelligence reports and other
data suggest that the fees charged by smugglers and the sophistication of
smuggling methods have increased since the implementation of the
strategy, all indicating, according to INS, an increased difficulty in illegally
crossing the border. However, these data do not indicate whether the
increased difficulty of entry has deterred the flow of illegal entries into the
country, the ultimate goal of the Attorney General’s strategy. Data were
not available for us to determine whether there had been a decrease in
attempted reentries by those who had previously been apprehended. On
the basis of available data, we could not determine the extent to which the
strategy had reduced border violence.

The Attorney General’s strategy for deterring illegal entry across the
southwest border envisions three distinct but related results: fewer aliens
will be able to cross the border illegally; fewer aliens will try to illegally
immigrate into the United States; and, consequently, the number of illegal
aliens in the United States will decrease. The information that INS has
reported on apprehensions, attempted fraudulent entries at ports of entry
and other interim effects, and INS intelligence reports on changes in illegal
alien traffic provide only a partial picture of the effects of increased
border control. Evaluating the overall effectiveness of the strategy for
deterring illegal entry poses complex questions that would require a
formal, rigorous plan for (1) collecting and analyzing consistent and
reliable data on several different indicators related to the three expected
results from the strategy and (2) examining their interrelationships. In
addition to the data INS has reported, we identified a variety of other
indicators that may be useful in providing information on some aspects of
each of the results envisioned by the strategy to illustrate the concept of
how a more comprehensive assessment of the border strategy as a whole
could be devised.

At present, although the Justice Department believes that systematic
evaluation of major programs and initiatives is important, it has no formal
evaluation plan to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the Attorney
General’s strategy. INS officials told us that they are developing a list of



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             indicators that they believe may help INS undertake such an evaluation.
             However, key aspects of a formal evaluation plan, such as what data will
             be collected, by whom, and how the overall effectiveness of the strategy
             will be evaluated have yet to be determined.

             Although developing a formal evaluation plan and implementing a rigorous
             and comprehensive evaluation of the strategy may prove to be both
             difficult and potentially costly, without such an evaluation the Attorney
             General and Congress will have no way of knowing whether the billions of
             dollars invested in reducing illegal immigration have produced the
             intended results. Developing a formal evaluation plan would be in keeping
             with the concepts embodied in the Government Performance and Results
             Act of 1993 (the Results Act) to develop evaluations and performance
             measures to gauge whether the goals and objectives are being achieved.
             Although, in response to the Results Act, the Justice Department’s draft
             strategic plan described some specific program goals, strategies, and
             performance indicators, it did not contain an evaluation component to
             explain how the Department will assess success in meeting these goals or,
             more broadly, the effectiveness of the southwest border strategy. A formal
             evaluation plan would assist Justice in identifying whether INS is
             implementing the strategy as planned, what aspects of the strategy are
             most effective, and, if the strategy’s goals are not being achieved, the
             reasons they are not. Such information would help the agency and
             Congress identify whether changes are needed in the strategy, in policy, in
             resource levels, or in program management.


             INS’ overall budget has more than doubled within 5 years, from $1.5 billion
Background   in fiscal year 1993 to $3.1 billion in fiscal year 1997. INS has spent about
             $2.3 billion on border enforcement from fiscal years 1994 through 1997.
             For fiscal year 1997, the combined budget for INS’ Border Patrol and
             Inspections programs—the two programs responsible for deterring illegal
             entry along the border—was nearly $800 million. INS, through other INS
             programs, provides additional support for the strategy by allocating funds
             for computer automation, technology procurement, and construction of
             barriers.

             INS’Border Patrol is responsible for preventing and detecting illegal entry
             along the border between the nation’s ports of entry. The Border Patrol
             has 21 sectors, 9 of which are along the southwest border.




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Figure 1: INS Regions and Border Patrol Sector Headquarters Along the Southwest Border




            Western Region                   Central Region                                  Eastern Region




                                 Tucson

                                                                McAllen
                                 Yuma
                                                                Laredo
                                 El Centro
                                                                Del Rio
                                 San Diego                      Marfa
                                                                El Paso




                                             Source: INS.




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The Border Patrol’s appropriations were $631 million for fiscal year 1997,
a 69 percent increase over its $374 million expenditure for fiscal year 1994.
As of July 21, 1997, the Border Patrol had about 6,500 agents nationwide.
About 6,000, or 92 percent, were located in the nine sectors along the
southwest border. In fiscal year 1996, the Border Patrol apprehended
about 1.6 million aliens nationwide, of whom 1.5 million were
apprehended in sectors along the southwest border. (Appendix III
contains detailed staffing and selected workload data for the Border
Patrol.)

INS Inspections and the U.S. Customs Service3 share responsibility for
inspecting all applicants for admission at the U.S. ports of entry. The
purpose of their inspections is to prevent the entry of inadmissible
applicants by detecting fraudulent documents, including those
representing false claims to U.S. citizenship or permanent residence
status, and seize conveyances used for illegal entry. Figure 2 depicts INS’ 36
land ports of entry along the southwest border.




3
 Customs and INS inspectors perform inspections at the primary inspection booths at land ports of
entry. INS and Customs inspectors are cross-trained and cross-designated to carry out both agencies’
inspection responsibilities at U.S. ports of entry.



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Figure 2: INS Land Ports of Entry Along the Southwest Border




San Ysidro, CA (2)




     Tecate, CA
    Calexico, CA
    Andrade, CA
    San Luis, AZ
    Lukeville, AZ
     Sasabe, AZ

  Nogales, AZ (2)                                                                Los Ebanos, TX
                                                                                 Los Indios, TX
       Naco, AZ                                                                  Brownsville, TX (2)
     Douglas, AZ                                                                 Progreso, TX
                                                                                 Pharr, TX
  Columbus, NM                                                                   Hildalgo, TX
                                                                                 Rio Grande City, TX
                                                                                 Falcon Heights, TX
                                                                                 Roma, TX
                                                                                 Laredo, TX (3)
                                                                                 Eagle Pass, TX
                                                                                 Del Rio, TX (2)


                                                                                 Presidio, TX
                                                                                 Fort Hancock, TX
                                                                                 Fabens, TX
                                                                                  El Paso, TX (2)
                                                                                  Ysleta, TX
                                                                                  Santa Teresa,TX



                                          Note: Some locations have more than one port of entry.

                                          Source: INS.




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              As of March 30, 1997, INS Inspections had about 1,300 inspectors at ports of
              entry along the southwest border. The Inspections’ appropriation was
              $151 million for fiscal year 1997, a 78 percent increase from its $85 million
              expenditure for fiscal year 1994. As of March 15, 1997, the U.S. Customs
              Service had about 7,400 inspectors nationwide. Of these 7,400 inspectors,
              2,200, or 30 percent, were located along the southwest border to inspect
              individuals and cargo. In fiscal year 1996, INS and Customs inspectors
              along the southwest border inspected about 280 million people, including
              84 million, or 30 percent, who were U.S. citizens. (App. III contains
              detailed staffing and selected workload data for INS Inspections.)

              Within the Department of Justice, the 94 offices of the U.S. Attorneys are
              responsible for prosecuting individuals charged with committing offenses
              under U.S. law, including persons who illegally enter the United States.
              Because the Justice Department determined that it does not have the
              resources necessary to prosecute all illegal entrants, the U.S. Attorneys
              located in districts along the southwest border have instituted a policy to
              focus criminal prosecutions on alien smugglers, and on those aliens
              without legal documentation who are linked directly to violence and crime
              in the community. The policy calls for imposing administrative, rather than
              criminal, sanctions on first-time violators who do not otherwise have
              criminal histories. In October 1995, the Attorney General appointed the
              U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California as her Special
              Representative for Southwest Border Issues. This collateral responsibility
              includes coordinating the border law enforcement activities of various
              Justice Department agencies, including INS, the Drug Enforcement
              Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the activities
              undertaken by the Departments of the Treasury and Defense.

              The Department of State also has a role in deterring illegal entry along the
              southwest border. Mexican nationals who seek to visit the United States
              can obtain a border-crossing card, a type of entry document, from either
              State Department consulates in Mexico or from INS at ports of entry.
              According to the State Department, insufficient staffing levels overseas,
              ineffective interagency cooperation over the exchange of data, and needed
              computer enhancements all contribute to a weakening of management
              controls in the visa issuance function.

              To determine what the Attorney General’s strategy to deter illegal entry
Scope and     called for, we reviewed and summarized information on border control
Methodology   strategies, plans, and directives contained in a variety of Justice
              Department and INS documents related to border control and, because the



              Page 9                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Attorney General had not published a specific strategy for the southwest
border, we prepared a summary of these documents (see app. I). Not all of
the documents used were specifically identified as “strategy” documents.
Justice Department officials reviewed this summary in May 1997 and
agreed that it accurately reflected the Attorney General’s strategy and its
various components at that time.

To determine what actions had been taken to implement the strategy along
the southwest border and whether initial results expected from the
strategy’s implementation have occurred, we conducted in-person
interviews with officials from six of the nine Border Patrol sectors along
the southwest border and telephone interviews with officials from the
remaining three sectors.4 We interviewed INS officials from the five INS
district offices responsible for all of the ports of entry along the southwest
border, INS Inspections officials from seven ports of entry, and Customs
officials from five ports of entry.5 In addition, we analyzed INS’ Border
Patrol and Inspections workload and apprehension data, reviewed
documents pertaining to INS’ management priorities, and reviewed INS
intelligence reports and previous reports done by us and the Department
of Justice’s Inspector General. We did not verify the validity of INS
computer generated data related to workload and apprehension statistics.
However, we discussed with INS officials their data validation efforts.
These officials were confident that the data could be used to accurately
portray trends over time. We met with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern
District of California, who is also the Attorney General’s Southwest Border
Representative, to discuss aspects of the strategy related to prosecuting
those that violate immigration laws. We also discussed with INS and State
Department officials the status of various border control efforts to deter
illegal entry mandated by the 1996 Act. In conjunction with one of these
efforts—improvements in border-crossing identification cards—we visited
State Department consulates in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, Mexico.

To identify indicators that could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of
the strategy in deterring illegal entry, we reviewed illegal immigration
research studies and interviewed officials from INS and the U.S.



4
 We visited the Border Patrol sectors in San Diego and El Centro, California; Tucson, Arizona; and El
Paso, Laredo, and McAllen, Texas, and held telephone discussions with officials from the Yuma,
Arizona, and Del Rio and Marfa, Texas, sectors.
5
We visited the ports of entry in San Ysidro, Otay Mesa (INS only), and Calexico (INS only) California;
Nogales Arizona; and El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville, Texas. These ports were chosen because they
were in locations identified in the strategy as high priority areas.



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                   Commission on Immigration Reform.6 We also convened a meeting with a
                   panel of immigration researchers7 to obtain their views on a range of
                   evaluation issues, such as appropriate indicators of the strategy’s
                   outcome, sources of relevant data in addition to INS, the reliability of
                   existing data, and how data should be analyzed.

                   We did our work between December 1996 and September 1997 in
                   accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We
                   requested comments on a draft of this report from the Attorney General,
                   the INS Commissioner, the Acting Customs Commissioner, and the
                   Secretary of State or their designees. On September 16, 1997, the INS
                   Executive Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning provided us
                   with oral comments, which are discussed near the end of this letter. The
                   Customs Service had no comments on our report and the Department of
                   State provided technical corrections only.


                   In February 1994, the Attorney General announced a five-part strategy to
The Strategy       strengthen enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. The strategy
                   included

               •   strengthening the border,
               •   removing criminal aliens,
               •   reforming the asylum process,
               •   enforcing workplace immigration laws, and
               •   promoting citizenship for qualified immigrants.

                   The strategy to strengthen the border called for “prevention through
                   deterrence,” that is, to raise the risk of being apprehended for illegal aliens
                   to a point where they would consider it futile to try to enter the United
                   States illegally. The strategy was to involve concentrating new resources
                   on the front lines at the most active points of illegal activity along the
                   southwest border.

                   To carry out the priority to strengthen the border, the Border Patrol was
                   to, among other things, (1) concentrate personnel and technology
                   resources in a four-phased approach, starting first with the sectors with
                   the highest level of illegal immigration activity (as measured by
                   apprehensions) and moving to the areas with the least activity; (2) make
                   maximum use of physical barriers to deter entry along the border;

                   6
                   Section 141 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-649) established the Commission to examine and
                   make recommendations regarding the implementation and impact of U.S. immigration policy.
                   7
                    The names and affiliations of the panel participants are listed in appendix IV.


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                        (3) increase the proportion of time Border Patrol agents spent on border
                        control activities; and (4) identify the appropriate quantity and mix of
                        technology and personnel needed to control the border.

                        Recognizing that increased enforcement by the Border Patrol might force
                        some aliens to try to enter the United States illegally through the ports of
                        entry, the strategy calls for INS’ Inspections program to increase the
                        number of inspectors and the use of technology to both deter and detect
                        illegal entry and improve management of legal traffic and commerce. For
                        example, to deter illegal entry the strategy called for increasing the
                        number of illegal aliens referred for prosecution and testing automated
                        fingerprint technology to detect inadmissible aliens. To improve
                        management of legal traffic, the strategy called for providing the public
                        with more information so they would be better prepared for the inspection
                        process.

                        In concert with INS’ efforts to deter illegal entry, the strategy calls for
                        increasing felony prosecutions of alien smugglers and those criminal
                        aliens who have repeatedly reentered the United States after having been
                        removed.

                        In addition, the 1996 Act requires the Attorney General to take additional
                        border control measures to deter illegal entry into the United States.
                        Appendix II discusses the status of these efforts not discussed elsewhere
                        in this report.


                        INS has made progress in implementing the Attorney General’s strategy to
Implementation of the   deter illegal entry along the southwest border. In September 1997, Border
Strategy                Patrol officials told us that the Border Patrol had nearly completed phase I
                        of the strategy, which called for allocating Border Patrol resources to the
                        San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas, sectors. They stated that the
                        Border Patrol was now moving into phase II of the strategy, which called
                        for increasing resources in the Tucson, Arizona, sector and three sectors
                        in south Texas—Del Rio, Laredo, and McAllen. INS officials told us they
                        could not speculate as to when they would complete the remaining
                        aspects of the strategy, that called for focusing resources in the remaining
                        three sectors along the southwest border (phase III) and the sectors along
                        the rest of the U.S. land border and coastal waterways (phase IV).




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As part of phase I of the strategy, in October 1994, INS launched a major
initiative in San Diego called Operation Gatekeeper.8 This multiphase,
multiyear operation was designed to reduce illegal immigration into San
Diego and to force alien traffic eastward to deter and delay illegal aliens’
attempts to reach urban areas. Resources added to the area as a result of
Gatekeeper included new Border Patrol agents and support staff, new
inspectors at the San Ysidro port of entry, new computers and technology
to maximize efficiency, and new resources for the Office of the U.S.
Attorney for the Southern District of California to increase its capability to
prosecute criminal aliens. Gatekeeper focused first on the area of the
greatest illegal immigration activity—the 5-mile stretch of Imperial Beach,
California. The next phase, which began in June 1995, included intensified
enforcement at the San Ysidro port of entry and the rural parts of the San
Diego sector. In December 1994, we reported that on the basis of initial
positive results, the strategy appeared encouraging.9

In August 1997, INS began the next major phase of its strategy by
concentrating resources in the McAllen sector, starting first in
Brownsville, Texas. Named Operation Rio Grande, INS plans to add agents
and equipment, such as high-powered vision scopes and stadium type
lighting, to the McAllen sector to deter illegal entry.

The Border Patrol has generally allocated its additional resources in
accordance with the strategy and has made progress in constructing
barriers along the southwest border. However, the agents’ percentage of
time spent on border enforcement has not increased in most southwest
border sectors since 1994, and the Border Patrol has yet to determine the
best mix of agents and technology on which to base future staffing
allocations. INS’ Inspections program has deployed additional inspectors to
the southwest border and is in the process of pilot testing various
technology initiatives designed to deter illegal entry and streamline the
inspections process. In addition, the U.S. Attorneys in the five districts
along the southwest border increased the number of prosecutions for
certain immigration violations.




8
 In September 1993, prior to the strategy being announced, INS began Operation Hold-the-Line, in El
Paso, Texas. In addition, in October 1994, INS began Operation Safeguard in Arizona to respond to the
increase in apprehensions there.
9
 Border Control: Revised Strategy Is Showing Some Positive Results, (GAO/GGD-95-30, Dec. 29, 1994).



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Border Patrol Has         With some exceptions, the Border Patrol was generally able to allocate its
Generally Allocated New   additional resources according to the strategy, allocating first to sectors
Agents and Other          with the highest level of known illegal immigration activity. In fiscal year
                          1993, the San Diego and El Paso sectors had the highest levels of
Resources in Accordance   apprehensions of illegal immigrants, accounting for 68 percent of all
With Strategy             apprehensions along the southwest border. In fiscal year 1994, INS received
                          funding for an additional 350 agents and assigned these new agents to San
                          Diego and El Paso, the sectors with the highest priority. Three hundred
                          agents were allocated to the San Diego sector and 50 to the El Paso sector.

                          The strategy noted that the Border Patrol needed to be flexible to respond
                          to changing patterns in illegal alien traffic. According to INS officials, the
                          Border Patrol began to notice “almost immediately” an increase in
                          apprehensions in other sectors, particularly Tucson and those in south
                          Texas (Del Rio, McAllen, and Laredo). INS officials attributed this increase
                          in apprehensions in other sectors to a “shift” in the flow of illegal alien
                          traffic as it became more difficult to cross illegally in San Diego and El
                          Paso. Consequently, in fiscal year 1995, the Border Patrol deployed some
                          of the additional agents funded that year and originally planned for San
                          Diego and El Paso to the Tucson and south Texas sectors, the sectors with
                          the next highest priority after San Diego and El Paso.

                          According to Border Patrol officials, deploying additional agents in a
                          phased manner was a new approach. Prior to the strategy, as additional
                          positions became available, the Border Patrol tried to allocate at least a
                          few additional positions to as many of the 21 sectors as possible. However,
                          under the strategy, 98 percent (or 2,792) of the 2,850 new Border Patrol
                          agent positions nationwide authorized from fiscal year 1994 through fiscal
                          year 1997 have gone to 6 of the 21 Border Patrol sectors.10 INS allocated
                          1,235 (about 43 percent) of these positions to the San Diego sector and 351
                          (about 12 percent) to the El Paso sector, sectors with the highest priority.
                          Nearly all of the remaining 1,264 went to the Tucson and the south Texas
                          sectors, the sectors with the next highest priority (see fig. 3).




                          10
                            Of 2,850 new positions, 2,842 were authorized for the southwest border and 8 for Puerto Rico.



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Figure 3: Allocation of New Agent
Positions by Southwest Border Patrol
Sector, Fiscal Years 1994 Through      Number of new positions
1997
                                       1,400

                                                  1,235
                                       1,200



                                       1,000



                                         800


                                                                              602
                                         600



                                         400                                            351                                   328


                                         200                                                               152
                                                                                                                     124
                                                            50
                                                                        0                          0
                                           0
                                               San Diego El Centro Yuma      Tuscon   El Paso    Marfa    Del Rio Laredo     McAllen
                                               Phase I      Phase III       Phase II Phase I Phase III            Phase II




                                       Note: Total number of new agent positions authorized for the southwest border for fiscal years
                                       1994 through 1997 equals 2,842.

                                       Source: INS.




                                       As shown in figure 4, the additional allocations have resulted in an
                                       increase in on-board staff in most southwest border sectors. Overall, the
                                       number of Border Patrol agents on board along the southwest border
                                       increased 76 percent between October 1993 and July 1997.




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Figure 4: Number of On-Board Agents by Southwest Border Patrol Sector, October 1993 Compared With July 1997

Number of on-board agents

2,500

               2,188

2,000




1,500




1,000    980
                                                                      901
                                                        817
                                                                                                                                 689
                                                                602
 500                                                                                               414            444
                                                                                                            347            386
                                                 281                                         290
                       194 204     178 168
                                                                               131 132

    0
         San Diego     El Centro    Yuma          Tucson         El Paso         Marfa        Del Rio        Laredo        McAllen


                 October 1993
                 July 1997

                                             Note: Total on-board agents on the southwest border as of October 1993 equals 3,389. Total
                                             on-board agents on the southwest border as of July 1997 equals 5,957.

                                             Source: INS.




                                             To complement the increase in staffing, southwest border sectors have
                                             also received additional technology, equipment, and infrastructure
                                             improvements in accordance with the Border Patrol strategy. For
                                             example, between October 1994 and October 1996, the San Diego sector
                                             added almost 5 miles of permanent high-intensity lighting, 8 miles of
                                             reinforced steel fencing, 28 infrared scopes (a night-vision device), and 3
                                             helicopters to detect illegal entry. El Paso sector officials told us they
                                             received six additional infrared scopes and expected to receive five more




                                             Page 16                                                      GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                            B-276689




                            soon, and in March 1997, the sector completed a 3.5 mile fencing project.
                            INS purchased a building for a new Border Patrol station in Nogales,
                            Arizona, to house the increased number of new agents.

                            In March 1997, the Border Patrol submitted a 5-year staffing plan to
                            Congress covering fiscal years 1996 through 2000. The plan calls for
                            adding between 1,500 and 2,500 additional Border Patrol agents in fiscal
                            years 1998 through 2000. This is fewer than the 3,000 additional agents
                            whom the 1996 Act authorized INS to hire over the 3-year period because,
                            according to INS officials, they were concerned that their staff was growing
                            faster than they could properly manage and that they did not have an
                            adequate infrastructure (facilities, equipment, training, and supervisory
                            capacity) to absorb 3,000 new agents. INS plans to assign two-thirds of the
                            new agents to Arizona and Texas; the remainder will go to states along the
                            northern border and Gulf Coast.


Progress in Installing      One of the main efforts outlined in the strategy is the “maximum utilization
Barriers Between Ports of   of lighting, fencing, and other barriers” by all sectors, although the strategy
Entry                       did not outline specific barrier projects or miles of fencing to be built. A
                            1993 border control study, commissioned by the U.S. Office of National
                            Drug Control Policy (Sandia Study), recommended fencing and in some
                            cases vehicle barriers in every southwest border patrol sector to deter
                            illegal entry.11 While INS has not formally endorsed all of the Sandia Study
                            recommendations, INS Headquarters Border Patrol officials told us that
                            some recommendations, such as erecting 90 miles of barriers along the
                            southwest border, are valid. These officials told us that, while adding
                            barriers is part of the strategy, INS has left it up to each sector chief to
                            propose where and when to build barriers. Seven of the nine sector plans
                            written to carry out the strategy cite the need for barriers to increase
                            agents’ effectiveness in apprehending illegal aliens and reducing crime.
                            According to INS officials, proposals for barrier projects are reviewed in
                            the context of INS’ budget process; require consultation with Congress; and
                            must be coordinated with the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Task
                            Force Six, the military unit that constructs much of the fencing for INS.

                            Congress has also emphasized the need for additional fencing. The 1996
                            Act requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the Commissioner
                            of INS, to take such actions as may be necessary to install additional
                            physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the U.S. border to deter illegal

                            11
                               Systematic Analysis of the Southwest Border, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New
                            Mexico, January 1993.



                            Page 17                                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States. In carrying
out this provision in the San Diego sector, the 1996 Act requires the
Attorney General to provide for second and third fences, in addition to the
existing reinforced fence, and for roads between the fences for the 14
miles of the international land border of the United States extending
eastward from the Pacific Ocean.12

INS has allocated $8.6 million of its fiscal year 1996 and 1997
appropriations to complete the first two phases of the triple fencing
project in the San Diego sector. Of the $8.6 million allocated, about
$4.3 million had been obligated for expenditure as of July 1997. According
to a San Diego sector official, INS is in the process of acquiring the
property upon which to build the fencing and conducting environmental
assessment reports, before construction can begin in certain areas. Figure
5 depicts bollard-type (concrete cylindrical columns set in a staggered
manner) fencing13 which is being constructed in the area immediately
inland from the Pacific Ocean in the San Diego sector.




12
  Sec. 102(a) and (b).
13
  According to INS officials, the fencing is divided into (1) 1.8 miles of bollard fencing; (2) 1.5 miles of
steel mesh fencing, about 15 feet in height; and (3) other type of fencing still in the design phase to
cover the remainder of the 14 miles.



Page 18                                                             GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Figure 5: Bollard Fencing Being Constructed in San Diego, California




  Insert: Bollard fencing showing electronic
  security access gate. Gate is to have mesh-like
  covering over the openings.

                                                    Source: INS.




                                                    Prior to 1994, very little substantial fencing existed—about 14 miles of
                                                    reinforced steel fencing in the San Diego sector. Since the strategy was




                                                    Page 19                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                                        B-276689




                                        announced, INS has built approximately 32 miles of new fencing in five
                                        sectors. As of July 1997, nearly 24 miles of additional fencing was under
                                        construction. Most of the fencing constructed, under construction, or
                                        planned to be built is in the San Diego sector. Currently, no barriers exist
                                        or are planned to be built in four Texas sectors (Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo,
                                        and McAllen). However, two of these sectors (Laredo and McAllen) had
                                        indicated a need for barriers in their sector plans. INS officials cited the
                                        need to overcome community concerns as a reason why they have not
                                        built more barriers.

Table 1: Status of Barriers Along the
Southwest Border                        Border Patrol                 Miles built          Miles built         Miles under
                                        sector                       before 1994           since 1994         construction      Miles planned
                                                                                                                            a
                                        San Diego                             14.0                 18.7                 5.5                   2.0
                                        El Centro                                 0                 3.0                   0                   3.0
                                        Yuma                                      0                 4.5                   0                   3.0
                                                                                                        b
                                        Tucson                                    0                 2.0                 3.5                   2.0
                                        El Paso                                   0                 3.5                14.0                    0
                                                             c
                                        All other sectors                         0                   0                   0                    0
                                        Total                                 14.0                 31.7                23.0                  10.0
                                        a
                                         As mandated in the 1996 Act, 14 miles of secondary fencing to supplement the primary border
                                        fence is also being built.
                                        b
                                            Does not include 2 miles of fencing in Naco, Arizona, since INS did not fund the construction.
                                        c
                                        Includes Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo, and McAllen, Texas sectors.

                                        Source: GAO analysis of INS data.



                                        The majority of the fencing construction along the southwest border has
                                        been accomplished by the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Task Force
                                        Six and, to a lesser degree, the National Guard. The military provides the
                                        personnel to construct the fencing and pays for their salaries,
                                        transportation, meals, and housing. INS typically pays for building materials
                                        (although steel runway landing mats are provided at no cost because they
                                        are military surplus) and other costs, such as equipment rental. INS
                                        employees, such as repair and maintenance staff, also help with the
                                        construction. In a few instances, private contractors have been hired by
                                        INS to construct particular types of fencing, such as the bollard fencing
                                        project in the San Diego sector. However, INS officials stated that the use
                                        of private contractors is much more costly to INS than using military
                                        assistance.




                                        Page 20                                                             GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                           B-276689




Proportion of Time Spent   The strategy called for an increasing border enforcement activity, as
on Border Enforcement      measured by the proportion of time Border Patrol agents spent on border
Did Not Increase in Most   enforcement. According to INS data, agents in the nine sectors along the
                           southwest border collectively spent 59 percent of their total time on
Southwest Border Sectors   border enforcement in the first half of fiscal year 1997, nearly reaching the
                           servicewide goal of 60 percent. However, this proportion of time spent on
                           border enforcement activities was the same as that in fiscal year 1994.
                           Although the proportion of time spent on border enforcement activities
                           did not increase during this period, the total number of hours spent by all
                           Border Patrol agents on border enforcement activities along the southwest
                           border has been increasing since fiscal year 1994, because the overall
                           number of Border Patrol agents assigned to the southwest border sectors
                           increased.

                           In five of the nine southwest border sectors, the proportion of time that
                           Border Patrol agents spent on border enforcement in the first half of fiscal
                           year 1997 was within 2 percentage points (plus or minus) of what it was in
                           fiscal year 1994. In two sectors, Tucson and El Paso, the proportion of
                           time spent on border enforcement decreased by 7 and 13 percentage
                           points, respectively. In two other sectors, San Diego and Marfa, it
                           increased by 7 and 10 percentage points, respectively (see fig. 6).




                           Page 21                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Figure 6: Percentage of Agents’ Time Spent on Border Enforcement by Southwest Border Sector, Fiscal Year 1994
Compared With First Half of Fiscal Year 1997

Percentage of border enforcement time spent
100




 80                                                                       77
                                                                                                                    75   74
                                                 68
                                          66                                                   66
                                                                                64
                        60                                                                           61   61
 60           57              58
                                                            56                            56                                          55
                                                                                                                                 54
        50                                                       49


 40




 20




  0
        San Diego      El Centro           Yuma             Tucson         El Paso         Marfa     Del Rio        Laredo       McAllen

         Increase                          Increase                                       Increase                                Increase

                Fiscal year 1994

                First half of fiscal year 1997


                                                      Source: GAO analysis of INS data.




                                                      INSofficials reported that an increase in the amount of time spent on
                                                      program support activities such as supervision, training, and processing
                                                      apprehended aliens, as well as possible reporting errors, could have
                                                      hindered increasing the overall percentage of time spent on border control
                                                      activities. For example, during fiscal year 1994, the El Paso sector spent
                                                      20 percent of its time on program support compared with 33 percent
                                                      during the first half of fiscal year 1997, an increase of 13 percentage points.
                                                      During this same time period, the Tucson sector’s percentage of time on
                                                      program support increased from 41 percent to 50 percent, an increase of
                                                      9 percentage points.



                                                      Page 22                                                  GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                             B-276689




                             Consistent with the strategy, southwest border sectors have redirected
                             Border Patrol agents from general enforcement14 activities back to border
                             control. For example, the San Diego sector reduced the proportion of time
                             spent on general enforcement from 4 percent in fiscal year 1994 to less
                             than 1 percent for the first half of fiscal year 1997. The Marfa sector
                             reduced the proportion of time spent on general enforcement from
                             14 percent to 2 percent during this same time period. As a result, Marfa
                             increased its border enforcement percentage although it did not receive
                             additional staff during this period.

                             Servicewide, the proportion of time spent on border enforcement declined
                             from 56 percent in fiscal year 1994 to 50 percent in the first half of fiscal
                             year 1997. Thus, the performance of INS as a whole on this measure
                             declined rather than increased as intended. INS has lowered its
                             expectations regarding the percentage of time, servicewide, that it expects
                             its Border Patrol agents to spend on border enforcement. According to its
                             fiscal year 1998 budget submission, INS’ 1998 servicewide goal is for the
                             Border Patrol to spend 56 percent of its time on border enforcement
                             compared with the 60 percent goal for fiscal year 1997.


Appropriate Mix of Agents’   The strategy states that it will “seek the best mix of technology and
Staffing and Materiel        personnel resources to meet the long term goals,” and that “improvements
Resources Had Not Been       in technology will make border control strategies more effective and less
                             resource intensive.” The Border Patrol has been increasing its supply of
Determined                   equipment and advanced technologies. The conference report for the
                             fiscal year 1997 Department of Justice Appropriations Act includes
                             $27 million for infrared scopes, low-light television systems, sensors,15 and
                             the replacement of three helicopters, including upgraded forward-looking
                             infrared systems.16 Since 1994, the San Diego sector alone acquired an
                             additional 28 infrared scopes, about 600 underground sensors, about 500
                             vehicles, about 600 computers, and several advanced computer systems.

                             The Border Patrol has not identified the most appropriate mix of staffing
                             and other resources needed for its sectors. Headquarters officials told us
                             that sector chiefs may have taken current technological assets into

                             14
                              General enforcement activities include checking employers for illegal workers and visiting local jails
                             and state prisons to locate and process criminal aliens.
                             15
                              Sensors include devices buried in the ground used to detect either foot or vehicular traffic that may
                             have crossed the border illegally.
                             16
                              Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations
                             Act, P.L. 104-208; H.R. Conf. Rep. 104-863, at 788 (1996).



                             Page 23                                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                              B-276689




                              consideration when developing their sector staffing proposals. However,
                              according to these officials, sector staffing proposals generally did not
                              include a discussion of the potential impact on staffing needs of adding
                              barriers and/or technology. In addition, when allocating the additional
                              1,000 Border Patrol agents funded for fiscal year 1997 to the various
                              sectors, the Border Patrol did not formally consider how adding barriers
                              and/or technology would potentially affect staffing needs.

                              In the 5-Year Border Patrol Deployment Plan submitted to Congress in
                              March 1997, the Border Patrol stated that in fiscal year 1998, it would
                              “assess technology improvements in sensors, scopes, biometrics
                              identification systems, etc., and effects on staffing requirements”; and in
                              fiscal year 1999, it would “implement staffing changes based on technology
                              assessments.” With the help of a contractor, the Border Patrol is currently
                              working on developing a computerized staffing model to help it identify
                              the right mix of staffing and technology. According to Border Patrol
                              officials, the model will allow INS to estimate the impact of different levels
                              of materiel resources on sectors’ staffing levels and effectiveness in
                              apprehending illegal aliens. As of June 1997, the model was being tested in
                              the El Paso sector. INS officials plan to have this model operational in El
                              Paso by December 1997 and in all southwest border sectors by the
                              summer of 1998.

                              INSheadquarters officials told us that they were also testing new
                              technologies, such as weight-sensitive sensors and satellite global
                              positioning systems, to determine their usefulness in Border Patrol
                              operations. They told us that they have yet to determine how these new
                              technologies might be integrated into border control operations and what
                              their impact on agent needs might be.


Resources, Enforcement        The strategy postulated that enhanced enforcement efforts between the
Initiatives, and Technology   ports of entry would cause an increase in port-of-entry activity, including
Testing Increased at Ports    increased attempts to enter through fraudulent means.17 To handle the
                              increased activity, Congress authorized an increase of about 800
of Entry                      inspectors for southwest ports of entry since 1994 (see fig. 7), almost
                              doubling the number of authorized positions, from about 865 in 1994 to
                              1,665 in 1997. As of March 1997, 1,275 inspectors were on board at land
                              ports of entry along the southwest border (see fig. 8).

                              17
                               Fraudulent entries could include persons presenting counterfeit documents or altered immigration
                              documents; persons making a documented false claim of U.S. citizenship, such as presenting a
                              counterfeit U.S. birth certificate; persons making oral false claims to U.S. citizenship; or persons being
                              smuggled through the port of entry concealed in vehicles.



                              Page 24                                                           GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Figure 7: Allocation of New Inspectors
to Land Ports of Entry Along the          Number of new positions
Southwest Border by INS District
Office, Fiscal Years 1994 Through 1997    400
                                                        364




                                          300




                                          200



                                                                        122               119                                 115
                                          100
                                                                                                             76




                                            0
                                                   San Diego        Phoenix           El Paso           San Antonio       Harlingen
                                                   District         District          District          District          District


                                         Note: Total number of new inspector positions authorized for fiscal years 1994 to 1997 equals
                                         796. Ports of entry fall under the administration of district offices.

                                         Source: INS.




                                         Page 25                                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Figure 8: Number of On-Board
Inspectors at Land Ports of Entry
Along the Southwest Border by INS   Number of on-board inspectors
District Office, September 1994     600
Compared With March 1997

                                    500             490



                                    400



                                    300

                                              230                                  236

                                    200                             191                                             190
                                                                                                    168
                                                                             139
                                                                                              120             126
                                    100                      88



                                      0
                                           San Diego       Phoenix          El Paso         San Antonio     Harlingen
                                           District        District         District        District        District




                                                       September 1994

                                                       March 1997



                                    Note: Total number of on-board inspectors on the southwest border as of September 1994 equals
                                    703. Total number of on-board inspectors on the southwest border as of March 1997 equals
                                    1,275. Ports of entry fall under the administration of district offices.

                                    Source: INS.




                                    INShas begun testing a number of programs and systems to increase
                                    deterrence to illegal entry and improve and streamline the inspection
                                    process. These efforts are intended to prevent illegal aliens and criminal
                                    violators from entering the United States and facilitate the entry of legal
                                    travelers. To accomplish these objectives, INS is using technology to
                                    segment people seeking admission by risk category and forming strategic
                                    partnerships with others concerned with border management, such as the




                                    Page 26                                                     GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
B-276689




Customs Service, local communities, and the Mexican government. INS is
also planning to measure its effectiveness in detecting illegal entry
attempts.

According to port-of-entry officials, the additional INS inspectors have
enabled INS to staff more inspection booths at peak hours, and allowed
both INS and Customs to increase enforcement efforts and undertake some
new initiatives to deter illegal entry. For example, inspectors at some ports
of entry are spending more time inspecting vehicles before they reach the
inspection booth to detect concealed drugs or smuggled aliens.

INSbelieves that increased sanctions will result in deterring illegal aliens
from attempting to enter the United States fraudulently. In response to an
increase in attempted fraudulent entries at ports of entry in the San Diego
area, the Justice Department established the first permanent immigration
court facility to be located at a port of entry. The “port court,” located at
the Otay Mesa port of entry, began as a pilot project in July 1995 and was
made permanent in October 1995. This program was intended to eliminate
costly and time-consuming transportation of aliens to the immigration
court in downtown San Diego and allowed for the immediate
implementation of the immigration judge’s order of exclusion and
deportation.

In addition, INS inspectors in San Diego worked with the U.S. Attorney for
the Southern District of California to develop a program intended to
increase prosecutions of persons attempting to enter the United States
fraudulently. However, the ability to prosecute may be hampered by the
limited availability of detention space, according to Inspections officials.
Provisions in the 1996 Act that took effect April 1, 1997, provide for the
expedited removal of certain aliens who attempt fraudulent entry. INS
officials believe these provisions may also help deter attempted fraudulent
entry.

INS has several pilot projects under way that use technology to try to
segregate low- and high-risk traffic and streamline the inspections process.
In the San Diego area, a dedicated commuter lane is in operation. INS
authorizes certain frequent crossers and their vehicles to enter the United
States through a preclearance process. Through an automated photo
identification and card system, registered vehicles and occupants can pass
through the port of entry quickly.18 INS is testing other technology,

18
  INS performs random inspections of vehicles in the dedicated commuter lane, and the use of the lane
is not for commercial entry of goods.



Page 27                                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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including automated vehicle license-plate readers to check vehicles
against law enforcement lookout databases and a system which uses palm
prints and fingerprints to verify the identity of individuals in order to
reduce passenger processing time.

In addition, according to INS headquarters and most port officials we
interviewed, INS and Customs have increased cooperation between their
agencies and are working together to manage the ports in a more efficient
manner. In 1993, we reported on the lack of cooperation and coordination
of border crossing operations as well as a long history of interagency
rivalries between INS and Customs.19 We recommended that the Director of
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), working with the Secretary of
the Treasury and the Attorney General, develop and present to Congress a
proposal for ending the dual management of border inspections. As a
result of our report, INS and Customs formed Port Quality Improvement
Committees (PQIC) at selected ports of entry, including some along the
southwest border. A 1996 follow-up report on the Vice President’s National
Performance Review indicated that the PQIC structure encouraged and
strengthened cooperation and communication among officers of all
federal inspection service personnel.20 In addition, Customs and INS
reviews have found that better coordination and improved services have
been achieved through PQICs. Four of the ports we visited (San Ysidro, El
Paso, Nogales, and Brownsville) had PQICs and had implemented various
cooperative initiatives to facilitate border crossing (e.g., increased
cross-training). We did not independently assess whether the PQICs have
resulted in better coordination and cooperation between INS and Customs
because such an assessment was beyond the scope of this review.

As part of its efforts to measure performance, as required by the Results
Act, INS plans full implementation in fiscal year 1998 of a port performance
measurement system, which is to include randomly selecting applicants
who seek to cross into the United States and processing them through a
more rigorous inspection. One of the goals of this system is to project the
estimated number of immigration related violations. According to INS
headquarters officials, this system will ensure the effectiveness of
inspections at the officer level and will allow for evaluation of overall
program performance.



19
 Customs Service and INS: Dual Management Structure for Border Inspections Should Be Ended,
(GAO/GGD-93-111, June 30, 1993).
20
 Reengineering United States Primary Passenger Processing, First Year Summary Report, National
Performance Review, 1996.



Page 28                                                      GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Prosecutions         The strategy called for increasing prosecutions for immigration related
                     violations. As part of the strategy, U.S. Attorneys in the five judicial
                     districts contiguous to the southwest border have developed federal
                     prosecution policies to, among other things, target criminal aliens,
                     smugglers, and those who attempt entry by using false documents. The
                     strategy also outlines the expanded use of administrative sanctions
                     through immigration court orders.

                     U.S. Attorneys in the five districts along the southwest border have
                     increased the number of prosecutions since 1994. For example, in fiscal
                     year 1994, the 5 districts filed about 1,000 cases involving about 1,100
                     defendants related to 3 major immigration violations.21 The Justice
                     Department projected that these 5 districts would file about 3,800 such
                     cases in fiscal year 1997, involving over 4,000 defendants, more than
                     tripling the number of cases and defendants.22 The U.S. Attorney for the
                     Southern District of California, which includes San Diego, projected that
                     his office would file about 1,900 such cases in fiscal year 1997, over 6 times
                     the 290 filed in 1994.


                     As the strategy along the southwest border is carried out, the Attorney
Some Anticipated     General anticipated the following changes in certain indicators would
Interim Effects of   provide evidence of the interim effectiveness of the strategy:
Strategy Are
                     (1) an initial increase in the number of illegal aliens apprehended in
Occurring            locations receiving an infusion of Border Patrol resources, followed by a
                     decrease in apprehensions when a “decisive level of resources” has been
                     achieved, indicating that illegal aliens are being deterred from entering;

                     (2) a shift in the flow of illegal alien traffic from sectors that traditionally
                     accounted for most illegal immigration activity to other sectors as well as
                     shifts within sectors from urban areas where the enforcement posture was
                     greater to rural areas;

                     (3) increased attempts by illegal aliens to enter illegally at the ports of
                     entry, as it becomes more difficult to enter between the ports;



                     21
                      These are 8 U.S.C. 1324, which provides criminal penalties for bringing in or harboring aliens; 8
                     U.S.C. 1325, which provides criminal penalties for improper entry by aliens; and 8 U.S.C. 1326, which
                     provides criminal penalties for reentry of an alien after deportation.
                     22
                      Fiscal year 1997 numbers are a straight-line projection based on actual data through the end of
                     March 1997. Fiscal year 1997 actual statistics were not available at the end of our field work.



                     Page 29                                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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                           (4) an increase in fees charged by alien smugglers to assist illegal aliens in
                           crossing the border and more sophisticated smuggling tactics;

                           (5) an eventual decrease in attempted reentries by those who have
                           previously been apprehended (recidivism); and

                           (6) reduced violence at the border.

                           According to the strategy, changes in the predicted direction on these
                           indicators would be evidence that INS enforcement efforts effectively
                           raised the cost and difficulty of entering the United States illegally.
                           Ultimately, the strategy posits that there would be fewer illegal aliens in
                           the United States and reduced use of social services and benefits by illegal
                           aliens.

                           Data on the interim effects of the strategy have been collected and
                           reported primarily by INS, and their interpretation is not clear-cut. The
                           available data suggest that some of the predicted changes have occurred.
                           For example, INS data indicate that

                           (1) there was a period after additional resources were applied to the San
                           Diego sector in which Border Patrol apprehensions increased in the sector
                           and a subsequent period in which apprehensions decreased;

                           (2) there has been a shift in illegal alien traffic from sectors that
                           traditionally accounted for most illegal immigration activity to other
                           sectors as well as shifts within some sectors;

                           (3) there were increased numbers of illegal aliens attempting to enter
                           illegally at some ports of entry; and

                           (4) alien smuggling fees may have increased, and smuggling tactics may
                           have become more sophisticated.

                           Data were unavailable on whether there has been a decrease in attempted
                           reentries by those who have previously been apprehended, and data on
                           violence at the border were inconclusive.


Changes in Illegal Alien   Apprehension statistics are routinely reported by INS, and they are INS’
Apprehensions              primary quantitative indicator of the results of the strategy. Although an
                           effective strategy should affect apprehensions, apprehension data,



                           Page 30                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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standing alone, have limited value for determining how many aliens have
crossed the border illegally. (A later section discusses the limitations of
apprehension data more fully.)

According to INS data for the San Diego sector, after an increase in
apprehensions, as resources were applied, sector apprehensions
eventually began to decrease. According to an INS analysis of seasonally
adjusted San Diego sector apprehension data from October 1992 to March
1997 (see fig. 9), monthly sector apprehensions were on a downward trend
from February 1993 through December 1994. In January 1995, 3 months
after the sector began applying Operation Gatekeeper resources in the
western part of the San Diego sector, apprehensions began increasing.
Apprehensions continued to increase for about 1 year. Beginning in
January 1996, apprehensions started to decline and continued to do so
through March 1997 (the end point of the INS analysis). The last decline in
apprehensions coincided with the addition of Border Patrol agents,
barriers, and technology to areas of the San Diego sector that were east of
the original Gatekeeper effort.




Page 31                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Figure 9: Apprehensions (Seasonally
Adjusted) in the San Diego Border
Patrol Sector, October 1992 to        Total apprehensions (seasonally adjusted)
March 1997
                                      60,000



                                      50,000



                                      40,000



                                      30,000



                                      20,000



                                      10,000



                                           0
                                               Oct 92         Oct 93              Oct 94            Oct 95          Oct 96
                                                Years

                                                        Operation gatekeeper (began October 1994)
                                                        Peso devaluation (December 1994)

                                                        Spring initiative (began January 1996)




                                      Source: INS.




                                      It is difficult to determine whether the increase in apprehensions
                                      experienced in 1995 is due to increased enforcement or other factors. In
                                      December 1994, the Mexican government devalued the peso. According to
                                      INS officials and INS reports, apprehensions in the San Diego sector could
                                      have increased in part due to the strategy and in part due to an increase in
                                      illegal flow resulting from poor economic conditions in Mexico and the
                                      associated devaluation of the peso. It is also difficult to determine whether
                                      the decline in apprehensions that began in January 1996 was part of the




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original downward trend predicted by the strategy or a specific result of
the spring initiative—INS’ 1996 enhancement to Operation Gatekeeper—in
which additional resources were applied to the eastern parts of the San
Diego sector.23

In El Paso, the pattern of apprehensions following implementation of a
separate border enforcement initiative, Operation Hold the Line, differed
from that of San Diego. In this operation, begun in September 1993, the
sector redeployed its agents directly to a 20-mile section of the border in
the metropolitan El Paso area adjoining Ciudad Juarez in Mexico and
maintained a high-profile presence that was intended to deter illegal aliens
from attempting to cross the border. According to an INS analysis of
seasonally adjusted apprehension data, apprehensions decreased in the El
Paso sector immediately after the initiative was launched, and after
declining for a period of 1 month, apprehensions began to increase (see
fig. 10). Although the Border Patrol has continued Operation Hold-the-Line
and added new agents to the sector between fiscal years 1994 and 1997,
apprehension levels began to increase in November 1993, and have
generally continued to do so through March 1997, although remaining at
levels below those that existed before September 1993.




23
  In July 1996, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) began a broad
investigation into allegations by members of the Border Patrol union that Operation Gatekeeper was
characterized by the manipulation of procedures and data to create the false impression that the
initiative had successfully deterred illegal immigration into the San Diego sector. The OIG
investigation has been completed, although a report on the results has not yet been issued. In
August 1997, OIG officials told us that their report on Gatekeeper, which they expect to issue in
November 1997, will not affirm that pervasive falsification of Gatekeeper data occurred.



Page 33                                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Figure 10: Apprehensions (Seasonally
Adjusted) in the El Paso Border Patrol
                                         Total apprehensions (seasonally adjusted)
Sector, October 1992 to March 1997
                                         35,000


                                         30,000


                                         25,000


                                         20,000


                                         15,000


                                         10,000


                                          5,000


                                              0
                                                  Oct 92         Oct 93            Oct 94         Oct 95         Oct 96

                                                  Years

                                                           Hold-the-line (began September 1993)
                                                           Peso devaluation (December 1994)


                                         Source: INS.




Shift in Illegal Alien Traffic           The Border Patrol strategy directed additional enforcement resources first
                                         to the San Diego and El Paso sectors, where the majority of illegal entries
                                         have historically occurred. INS expected that the flow of illegal alien traffic
                                         would shift from San Diego and El Paso to other sectors as control was
                                         achieved. Our analysis of INS apprehension data indicate that a shift in
                                         apprehensions has occurred. As shown in figure 11, in the first 6 months of
                                         fiscal year 1993 the San Diego and El Paso sectors accounted for
                                         68 percent of all southwest border apprehensions. However, during the
                                         first 6 months of fiscal year 1997, San Diego and El Paso accounted for
                                         33 percent of all southwest border apprehensions. Other sectors now
                                         account for a larger share of the apprehensions. For example, in the first 6
                                         months of fiscal year 1993, the Tucson sector accounted for 7 percent of
                                         all southwest border apprehensions. During the first half of fiscal year



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                                           1997, the sector’s share rose to 19 percent. The proportion of southwest
                                           border apprehensions of the three south Texas sectors—McAllen, Laredo,
                                           and Del Rio—rose from 19 percent to 37 percent over the same period.



Figure 11: Apprehensions in San Diego, El Paso, and Other Southwest Border Patrol Sectors, First Half of Fiscal Years
1993 and 1997


First half of FY 1993                                        First half of FY 1997

                                      El Paso                                                           El Paso
                                      San Diego                                                         San Diego



                                                                                9%
                                                                               9.5%
                        45%                                                            23.6%
                                                                                       24%




    23%                                     a                                                                 a
                                      Other                                                             Other
                                      sectors                                                           sectors
                        32%                                                            67%




                                           a
                                            Includes El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo, and McAllen.


                                           Source: GAO analysis of INS data.


                                           The Border Patrol’s enforcement posture aimed to reduce illegal entries
                                           into large urban areas, thereby, forcing illegal alien traffic to use rural
                                           routes where the Border Patrol believes it has a tactical advantage. Our
                                           analysis of INS apprehension data shows that within the San Diego, El
                                           Paso, and Tucson sectors, apprehensions have decreased in areas that
                                           have received greater concentrations of enforcement resources and
                                           increased in more remote areas. As shown in figure 12, in the San Diego
                                           sector, the stations of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista, which provide the
                                           shortest established routes to urban San Diego, accounted for 61 percent




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                                            of the sector apprehensions in the first half of fiscal year 1993.24 In the first
                                            half of fiscal year 1997, these two stations accounted for 39 percent of the
                                            sector’s apprehensions. Conversely, in the other stations, largely in rural
                                            sections of the sector, the share of total apprehensions increased from
                                            39 percent to 61 percent over the same time period.



Figure 12 : Apprehensions by Border Patrol Stations in the San Diego Sector, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993 and 1997


First half of FY 1993                                         First half of FY 1997
                                     Chula Vista station                                                     Chula Vista station
                                     Imperial Beach station




                                                                                  28%
                                                                                                             Imperial Beach station
      33%           28%
                                                                                               11%




                        39%                                                      61%




                                     Other stations                                                          Other stations




                                            Source: GAO analysis of INS data.




                                            In the El Paso sector, the proportion of apprehensions in the urban El
                                            Paso station dropped from 79 percent of all sector apprehensions in the
                                            first 6 months of fiscal year 1993, to 30 percent in the first 6 months of
                                            fiscal year 1997, as shown in figure 13. A 1994 study commissioned by the
                                            U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform concluded that Operation
                                            Hold-the-Line appeared to have substantially deterred some types of illegal

                                            24
                                              The nine Border Patrol sectors along the southwest border are each divided into a number of
                                            stations, with responsibility for a section of the border or a geographic area further in the interior of
                                            the United States. Most sectors also maintain several checkpoints along major highways, designed to
                                            intercept aliens who have eluded agents along the border.



                                            Page 36                                                            GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
B-276689




crossers but not others.25 Using official statistics on apprehensions and
crossings at the ports of entry (e.g., police and crime data, birth and
hospital data, education and school attendance statistics, sales tax and
general sales data) and qualitative information from in-depth interviews
with government officials and persons at border crossing sites in El Paso
and Ciudad Juarez, the study concluded that the operation had been more
successful in curtailing illegal immigration among aliens who crossed
illegally from Ciudad Juarez to engage in illegal work or criminal activity
in El Paso (local crossers) than among aliens who crossed at El Paso but
were headed for other U.S. destinations (long-distance labor migrants).
According to the study, a substantial amount of long-distance labor
migration appeared to have been diverted to other locations along the
southwest border. Border Patrol officials in the El Paso sector told us in
March 1997 that the majority of illegal aliens entering the sector were
long-distance migrants, so they believed that their enforcement efforts
were continuing to deter local crossers.




25
 F.D. Bean, R. Chanove, R.G. Cushing, R. de la Garza, G.P. Freeman, C.W. Haynes, & D. Spener, Illegal
Mexican Migration & the United States/Mexico Border: The Effects of Operation Hold-the-Line on El
Paso/Juarez (Austin, TX: Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, and U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform), July 1994.



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Figure 13: Apprehensions by Border Patrol Station in the El Paso Sector, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993 and 1997


First half of FY 1993                                               First half of FY 1997



                                            El Paso station                                                    El Paso station




                                                                                            30%
                        79%




                              21%           All other                                        70%               All other
                                            stations                                                           stations




                                           Source: GAO analysis of INS data.




                                           Apprehension data also provide some support that a shift occurred in
                                           illegal alien traffic from the urban area of Nogales, Arizona, targeted by the
                                           Border Patrol in the first phase of its enforcement strategy in the Tucson
                                           sector, to other stations in the sector. As shown in figure 14, in the first 6
                                           months of fiscal year 1993, the Nogales station accounted for 39 percent of
                                           all sector apprehensions. In the first 6 months of fiscal year 1997, the
                                           station accounted for 28 percent of all sector apprehensions. Over this
                                           same period, apprehensions have increased in the city of Douglas, Arizona,
                                           from 27 percent to 43 percent of all sector apprehensions.




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Figure 14: Apprehensions by Border Patrol Station in the Tucson Sector, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993 and 1997


First half of FY 1993                                                 First half of FY 1997

                                           Nogales station                                                     Nogales station




                        39%                                                                   28%




     27%
                                                                               43%
                        34%                                                                    29%



                                           Other stations                                                      Other stations
                                           Douglas station                                                     Douglas station



                                           Source: GAO analysis of INS data.




                                           Other information also indicates that there has been a shift in alien traffic.
                                           According to an INS report on Operation Gatekeeper, data from INS’
                                           automated fingerprinting system, known as IDENT, showed that illegal
                                           aliens were less likely to try to cross in Imperial Beach in January 1995
                                           than in October 1994. According to an April 1996 report summarizing the
                                           results from an INS Intelligence conference held in the Del Rio sector,
                                           potential illegal aliens had been channeled away from the U.S. urban areas
                                           on the southwest border to more inhospitable areas. The report stated that
                                           a sizeable number of apprehensions were being made in extremely
                                           desolate areas of the border, and this was taken to be an indication that
                                           illegal aliens were trying to avoid Border Patrol deployments. However,
                                           according to the report, INS lacked the resources to apprehend aliens
                                           traversing the remote areas. The report suggested that the Border Patrol
                                           should not abandon its high-visibility deterrent posture in the urban areas




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                             to respond to the remote areas because it would encourage a return to the
                             earlier entry patterns.

                             According to some INS sector officials, shifts in illegal alien traffic have had
                             a negative effect in their sectors. For example, according to a January 1997
                             Laredo sector report, continued media coverage of Operations
                             Hold-the-Line and Gatekeeper have discouraged entries in those areas and
                             made Laredo vulnerable to would-be crossers. Border Patrol officials in
                             the Del Rio sector told us in May 1997 that because of substantial
                             increases in illegal alien entry attempts and limited resources, the sector
                             had limited success in controlling the two main corridors within the
                             sector. According to INS headquarters officials, such shifts in illegal traffic
                             are not failures of the strategy; rather, they are interim effects.

                             The strategy has also produced some effects that INS did not anticipate. INS
                             officials told us that they were in some cases caught unaware by some of
                             the changes in illegal alien traffic and the tactics of illegal crossers. For
                             example, INS Western Region officials told us that the increases in illegal
                             alien traffic that they predicted would occur in the Tucson, Arizona, and
                             McAllen, Texas, sectors happened earlier than they expected. According
                             to these officials and San Diego sector officials, the mountains in the
                             eastern section of the San Diego sector were expected to serve as a
                             natural barrier to entry. They were surprised when illegal aliens attempted
                             to cross in this difficult terrain as it became more difficult to cross in the
                             urban sections of the sector.


Changes in Illegal Entry     The strategy anticipated increases in the flow of illegal traffic through the
Attempts at Ports of Entry   ports of entry as it became more difficult to cross between the ports.
                             According to INS regional and district officials, some of these anticipated
                             increases had begun to occur. Officials from the San Diego district told us
                             that they had seen large increases in attempts to enter the United States
                             using fraudulent documents or making false claims to U.S. citizenship
                             immediately following the increase of resources to the Border Patrol in the
                             San Diego sector. According to San Diego district inspections data, the
                             number of fraudulent documents intercepted increased about 11 percent
                             from fiscal year 1994 to 1995 (from about 42,000 to about 46,500), and the
                             number of false claims to U.S. citizenship increased 26 percent (from
                             about 15,400 to about 19,400). Officials in El Paso told us they uncovered
                             more fraudulent documents after the initiation of Operation Hold-the-Line.
                             El Paso district inspections data show a steady increase in the number of
                             fraudulent documents intercepted from fiscal year 1994 (about



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B-276689




8,200) through fiscal year 1996 (about 11,000). The Del Rio intelligence
conference report stated that Border Patrol enforcement efforts had
forced more people to attempt entry fraudulently through the ports of
entry. Officials from the Phoenix district, however, told us that they had
not seen any significant change in the number of fraudulent documents
intercepted at Arizona ports of entry, as the Border Patrol resources
increased in the Tucson, Arizona sector.

INS Western Region and San Diego District officials told us that they had
not expected the volume of people trying to enter illegally at the ports of
entry in the San Diego areas to be as large as it was after Operation
Gatekeeper or the tactics illegal aliens chose to try to get past the
inspectors. For example, at various times during 1995, illegal aliens
gathered at the entrance to the San Ysidro port of entry and attempted to
overwhelm inspectors by running in large groups through the port. INS
created emergency response teams at the port to deal with these
unexpected tactics and added bollards and other physical barriers to make
unimpeded passage more difficult. In addition, INS asked Mexican
government officials to help prevent large gatherings on the Mexican side
of the border. During our visit to San Ysidro in March 1997, INS officials
told us that due to these actions, large groups of port-runners were no
longer a problem.

It is difficult to determine whether the increases in number of fraudulent
documents intercepted and false claims to U.S. citizenship were a result of
actual increases in illegal entry attempts at the ports or greater efforts
made to detect fraud. The 1994 U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform
evaluation of Operation Hold-the-Line noted that INS inspectors at the
ports of entry in El Paso began checking documents more closely after the
Border Patrol instituted the operation, which may have contributed to the
increase in recorded illegal entry attempts.26

INS headquarters officials disagreed with these findings. They stated that
they believed that inspectors in El Paso were exposed to heavier traffic
flows after the operation began and, therefore, inspectors could have
compensated for the increased workload by doing more cursory reviews
of documents. These headquarters officials stated that increases in
detected fraud reflected actual increases in fraudulent entry attempts,
which were a response to heightened enforcement between the ports of
entry caused by the Border Patrol’s implementation of Operation
Hold-the-Line.

26
  Bean et al, p. 116.



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Alien Smuggling   INS expected that if successful, its enforcement efforts along the southwest
                  border would make it more difficult and costly for illegal aliens and alien
                  smugglers to cross the border. INS postulated that this should be reflected
                  in higher fees charged by alien smugglers and more sophisticated tactics
                  used by smugglers to evade capture by INS.

                  Fees charged by smugglers, and the sophistication of smuggling methods
                  have reportedly increased since fiscal year 1994. On the basis of testimony
                  of the U.S. Attorney for Southern California, INS evaluation reports on
                  enforcement efforts in San Diego, and INS intelligence reports, fees paid by
                  illegal aliens to smugglers have increased substantially. Fees for smuggling
                  illegal aliens across the southwest border have reportedly tripled in some
                  instances and may be as high as several thousand dollars for
                  transportation to the interior of the United States.

                  Intelligence assessments by INS’ Central Region in April and October 1996
                  concluded that smugglers had become more sophisticated in their
                  methods of operation. The assessments said that smugglers were more
                  organized and were transporting aliens further into the interior of the
                  United States. Similarly, officials from the U.S. Commission on
                  Immigration Reform told us that their examination of alien smuggling
                  along the southwest border indicated a trend toward more organized
                  smuggling.

                  INS sector officials and documents have reported that changes in alien
                  smuggling patterns may be having a negative impact in some sectors.
                  According to a June 1996 Laredo sector intelligence assessment, due to the
                  success of Operation Gatekeeper and Operation Hold-the-Line, as well as
                  increased personnel in the McAllen sector, alien smuggling had increased
                  in the sector. The assessment further stated that limited manpower caused
                  deterrence to be “negligible” and, consequently, alien smugglers crossed
                  virtually at any point along the Rio Grande River beyond the area where
                  the sector focused its enforcement resources. According to the report
                  from the Del Rio intelligence conference, the increased use of organized
                  smuggling may make INS’ mission more difficult. For example, most of the
                  alien smuggling organizations were reportedly “long-haul” groups
                  transporting aliens to interior work sites via interstate highways. In
                  addition, according to the report, many of the smuggling organizations that
                  used to be headquartered in the United States moved their operations out
                  of the United States, which may make prosecution of the principal leaders
                  of these organizations more difficult.




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Recidivism   The strategy anticipated eventual reductions in apprehensions of illegal
             aliens who had previously been apprehended, as control was gained in
             particular locations. According to INS, reductions in recidivism in these
             locations would indicate that some illegal aliens are being deterred from
             entering. INS has plans to use IDENT, its automated fingerprinting system,
             to identify recidivists and analyze their crossing patterns. However, due to
             the length of time that it is taking INS to deploy the IDENT system in field
             locations, difficulties in getting agents to use IDENT or use it properly, and
             computer problems, IDENT to date has provided limited information on
             recidivism.

             According to INS’ fiscal year 1998 budget request, IDENT systems were to
             be installed in 158 fixed locations along the southwest border by the end
             of fiscal year 1997. As of October 1, 1997, however, only 140 of these
             locations had an IDENT system in place. Of the nine southwest border
             sectors, only the San Diego and El Centro sectors had an IDENT system
             installed in every fixed location. Even when IDENT has been installed,
             according to INS sector officials, it has not always been put in locations
             where aliens are apprehended. One of the reasons given for not installing
             IDENT in these locations is that it depends on telephone hookup to a
             central database, but aliens are not necessarily apprehended where such
             telephone communications exist. As a result, many apprehended aliens
             have not been entered into IDENT and whether they are recidivists cannot
             be readily determined.

             Further, according to INS Headquarters officials, even when agents have
             access to IDENT, they don’t always use all the system capabilities to
             identify recidivists. This reportedly occurs when agents input information
             on apprehended aliens into IDENT at the end of their work shift. In such a
             case, agents may input apprehended aliens into the system but leave
             without determining whether the alien is a recidivist, because doing so
             would require additional time for further processing. In addition, if agents
             don’t use the IDENT equipment properly (e.g., they do not clean the
             platen, which records the fingerprint), they may obtain poor quality
             fingerprints from apprehended aliens. This can result in a failure to
             identify aliens as recidivists. These situations have been acknowledged as
             problems by INS, but the frequency of their occurrence is not known.

             Finally, computer problems have affected the usefulness of IDENT data
             and INS’ ability to track recidivism over several years. The first year of
             IDENT data, which were collected in fiscal year 1995, is not comparable
             with data collected in later years because of changes made to the software



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                             at the end of 1995. Accordingly, data collected since January 1996 can be
                             used as a baseline for assessing the effects of the southwest border
                             strategy, but data collected prior to then cannot be used. In addition,
                             computer problems arose in fiscal year 1996, affecting the ability of IDENT
                             to accurately read apprehension dates and times recorded by agents and
                             to match poor quality fingerprints within the system. INS officials told us
                             these problems have been corrected and the data have been reprocessed,
                             validated, verified, and are more consistent. INS officials told us that
                             although IDENT data gathered since January 1996 are reliable and
                             accurate, they have not yet been analyzed to examine trends in recidivism.


Changes in Violence at the   The strategy anticipated a reduction in border violence as border control
Border                       was achieved. INS officials told us that they anticipated that crime would
                             decline in those sections of the border where INS invested more
                             enforcement resources.

                             The results on this indicator are inconclusive. In November 1996, INS
                             officials reported that crime statistics for the San Diego area showed that
                             property crime rates and violent crime rates dropped between 1994 and
                             1995, after the infusion of resources in the sector. The decreases exceeded
                             decreases reported for the same time period for the state of California and
                             the nation as a whole. However, property and violent crime rates were
                             decreasing in San Diego prior to the infusion of resources. In addition,
                             according to FBI crime statistics, the crime rate for Imperial Beach, the
                             area that received the greatest infusion of Border Patrol agents in the San
                             Diego sector, was 19 percent lower from January to June of 1996
                             compared with the same period in 1992. However, this decrease was
                             smaller than the 32 percent decrease for the San Diego region as a whole.

                             According to an official in the Executive Office for the U.S. Attorneys, the
                             Executive Office as well as local law enforcement leaders believe that a
                             more secure border is a material element in the reduction of crime in San
                             Diego. In addition, according to this official and INS officials, there has
                             been a significant drop in violence against aliens crossing the border
                             illegally due to the Mexican government establishing a special group to
                             patrol its side of the border. According to the Executive Office official,
                             enhanced coordination between the group and U.S. authorities has had a
                             profound and positive impact on the level of violence.

                             The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, in its 1994 evaluation of
                             Operation Hold-the-Line, examined statistics for a number of different



                             Page 44                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                       B-276689




                       types of crimes in El Paso and the age groups involved in committing the
                       crimes. The evaluation found that certain types of petty crime and
                       property crime committed by young adults and juveniles had declined in
                       El Paso after the implementation of the operation. However, the
                       evaluation report said that the declines were neither statistically
                       significant nor greater than drops that had occurred in previous years.

                       Furthermore, linking changes in crime rates to border enforcement efforts
                       is problematic because there are often no data available on whether
                       arrested offenders have entered the country illegally. Without this
                       information, it is difficult to determine what proportion of the reported
                       declines in crime rates may be due to changes in the number of illegal
                       aliens arrested for criminal activity.


                       The Attorney General’s strategy for deterring illegal entry across the
Formal Evaluation      southwest border envisions three distinct but related results: fewer aliens
Based on Multiple      will be able to cross the border illegally; fewer aliens will try to illegally
Indicators Would Be    immigrate into the United States; and, consequently, the number of illegal
                       aliens in the United States will decrease. However, the indicators presently
Needed to Assess       used for measuring the overall success of the strategy are not sufficiently
Effectiveness of the   comprehensive to address these three distinct results, and, in many cases,
                       data are not being gathered systematically. In addition, there is no overall
Attorney General’s     plan describing how these and other indicators could be used to
Strategy               systematically evaluate the strategy to deter illegal entry. To gauge the
                       overall success of the strategy, data would be needed to assess each of the
                       results envisioned by the strategy and an evaluation plan would be needed
                       to describe the interrelationship of those results.

                       To illustrate this point, the strategy could have a desirable effect on the
                       flow of illegal aliens across the southwest border and, concomitantly, an
                       undesirable effect on the size of the illegal alien population in the United
                       States. This could occur if, for example, in response to the strategy, aliens
                       made fewer illegal trips to the United States, but stayed longer on each
                       trip, or made a legal trip but overstayed the terms of their visas.
                       Information would thus be needed on whether a possibly reduced flow
                       across the border may be an artifact of aliens’ staying in the United States
                       for longer periods of time than when the border was more porous or
                       whether aliens were deterred from making attempts at illegal entry at the
                       border.




                       Page 45                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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    Our review of the illegal immigration research literature, interviews with
    agency officials, and suggestions on evaluation strategies made to us by
    our panel of immigration experts verified the importance of a
    comprehensive approach for assessing the effectiveness of the strategy.
    Such an approach would require a formal evaluation plan consisting of
    indicators that would serve as measures of flow across and to the border
    as well as the size of the illegal alien population. We drew on our literature
    review and other consultations to identify indicators, some noted by INS
    and others not, that might provide useful information. The indicators we
    identified are discussed in the following pages and summarized in
    appendix V.

    It is important to keep several points in mind when contemplating these
    indicators:

•   First, the indicators we identified address some aspects of each of the
    border strategy’s intended results dealing with
    • the flow of illegal aliens across the southwest border,
    • whether aliens are being deterred from attempting to illegally migrate
       into the United States, and
    • the number of illegal aliens residing in the United States.
•   Second, each indicator or result by itself would be insufficient to assess
    the effectiveness of the strategy as a whole, but multiple indicators
    drawing on a variety of methods and data sources could contribute to a
    more comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of the strategy along
    the southwest border.
•   Third, these indicators should not be viewed as an exhaustive or
    all-inclusive list. Our purpose was to illustrate the significance of the
    multiple-indicator concept; devising an implementable evaluation strategy
    was beyond the scope of this review.
•   Fourth, the Government Performance and Results Act (Results Act) of
    1993 is intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal
    programs by establishing a system to set goals for program performance
    and to measure results. The Results Act requires that agency strategic
    plans contain a schedule for future program evaluations. Program
    evaluations can be a potentially critical source of information in ensuring
    the reasonableness of goals and strategies and explaining program results.
    The Results Act defines program evaluations as objective and formal
    assessments of the results, impact, or effects of a program or policy.

    We recognize that the results envisioned by the strategy are complex and
    interrelated and that a rigorous and comprehensive approach to evaluating



    Page 46                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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                            the results would be challenging and potentially costly. However, we
                            believe that the information that would be gained from such an approach
                            would be important to obtain because it could help identify areas where
                            Justice might not be achieving the strategy’s objectives and suggest areas
                            where strategy and policy changes may be necessary. In addition, as
                            Justice states in its September 1997 Strategic Plan,27 “evaluation identifies
                            and explains the linkages between the activities and strategies undertaken
                            and the results achieved . . . [and] enables future planning and resource
                            decisions to be better informed.”


Indicators of Flow Across   Historically, inferences about the flow of illegal aliens across the border
the Border                  have relied heavily on data recorded when aliens are apprehended
                            attempting to make illegal entry between ports of entry or at ports of
                            entry. Although the number of apprehensions is a quantifiable measure of
                            law enforcement activity and INS can collect apprehension information
                            systematically and completely along the length of the border, it is not a
                            very good measure of the effectiveness or results of broad strategies, such
                            as the strategy to deter illegal entry across the southwest border. A major
                            limitation of apprehension data is that it only provides information on
                            illegal aliens who have been captured by INS. Because arrested aliens are
                            the basis for apprehension data, such data provide little information about
                            illegal aliens who eluded capture, possibly by (1) changing their crossing
                            patterns and entering in areas where INS has not been able to detect them,
                            (2) using smugglers to raise the probability of a successful crossing,
                            (3) entering successfully at the ports of entry with false documents, or
                            (4) entering legally with a valid visa or border-crossing card and then
                            overstaying the time limits on these documents or working illegally in the
                            United States.

                            INS has, in various contexts, made note of indicators other than
                            apprehensions to measure the effects of various border-control initiatives.
                            These indicators include smuggling and crime statistics that were
                            mentioned in the previous section as indicators of the interim effects of
                            the strategy. Other indicators on which INS has collected some data in
                            certain sectors or has reported data collected by others include (1) the
                            number of migrants staying in hotels and shelters in Mexican border cities,
                            (2) the number of “gotaways” who are detected by the Border Patrol but
                            not apprehended, (3) complaints from members of U.S. border
                            communities about suspected illegal aliens trespassing on their property,
                            and (4) interview responses by apprehended aliens on the perceived

                            27
                              The United States Department of Justice Strategic Plan 1997-2002, September 1997.



                            Page 47                                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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difficulty of crossing the border. However, INS has collected much of these
data on an ad hoc basis, not systematically and comprehensively in
accordance with a formal evaluation plan. As a result, it is often difficult to
determine the time frame in which the data were collected, the
methodological integrity of the data collection procedures, and the
generalizability of the findings from one area of the border to another.

We reviewed a number of ongoing and completed research projects to
determine what indicators have been identified by others that can be
potentially used in a formal evaluation of the effects of the strategy. These
research projects contain information gathered by immigration
researchers in Mexico and the United States on the crossing patterns and
tactics of Mexicans who have crossed or intend to cross the border
illegally. In addition, the panel of immigration researchers that we
convened for advice on evaluating the effectiveness of the strategy
suggested that information on (1) the social costs and effects of illegal
immigration in border cities; (2) deaths, injuries, and abuses of illegal
aliens; and (3) Mexican efforts to crack down on its border could bolster
an understanding of the strategy’s potential effects on flow across the
border.

Several of the research projects we identified reported information
obtained from interviews with illegal aliens in the United States, potential
illegal aliens in Mexico, Mexicans who had been in the United States
illegally, and illegal and legal immigrants preparing to cross the
U.S.-Mexico border. Although we cannot attest to the quality of data
collected in these research studies, nor that the data were properly
analyzed and interpreted, these research studies have produced
quantitative and qualitative information on the crossing experiences of
illegal aliens—including the number of times individuals have been
apprehended on prior illegal trips, the locations where they have crossed
the border, tactics used to cross the border, whether smugglers were used,
and the overall costs of making an illegal trip. One ongoing project, the
Mexican Migration Project,28 has gathered interview data from migrants
from over 30 communities in Mexico, including detailed histories of border
crossing and migratory experience in the United States covering the past




28
 This research project is co-directed by Jorge Durand of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, and
Douglas Massey of the University of Pennsylvania.



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30 years. Two other projects conducted by a Mexican university29 gathered
interview data from migrants who were preparing to cross the border
illegally or legally, or who had just returned from the United States to
Mexico. The recently completed Binational Study on Migration gathered
interview data from Mexican migrants and from alien smugglers on such
issues as smuggling costs and tactics and perceptions of United States
border-control efforts.30 (See app. VI for more details on these research
projects, and others listed below, including discussion of their strengths
and weaknesses.)

Members of our expert panel also suggested that evaluations of the
strategy should include indicators of the social costs and benefits of
border enforcement, such as the social and financial effects of illegal
migration on border communities in the United States. As mentioned
earlier, the 1994 U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform evaluation of
Operation Hold-the-Line examined a variety of social indicators in El Paso
to estimate the impact of illegal aliens on these communities and to
determine whether there were any changes in these indicators as a result
of the operation. Future evaluation research could examine these kinds of
indicators in other cities along the southwest border. Such evaluations
would need to take into account differences between border cities in
terms of the enforcement strategies employed by INS, social and cultural
conditions, and the types of illegal aliens that traditionally cross through
these cities.

The panel also recommended more systematic study of deaths, injuries,
and abuse suffered by illegal aliens in crossing the border. Advocacy
groups have raised concerns that the strategy may divert illegal aliens to
more dangerous terrain to cross the border, thereby, producing an
unacceptably high toll in human suffering. A recent study by the University
of Houston’s Center for Immigration Research tracked deaths of illegal
aliens from such causes as automobile-pedestrian accidents, drowning,
and environmental and weather hazards (dehydration, hypothermia,
accidental falls) in counties on the U.S.-Mexico border during the years


29
  One project, still ongoing, is the Zapata Canyon project, which has surveyed illegal aliens preparing
to cross the southwest border every week since September 1987. The other project, which was
completed, is the Survey of Migration to the Northern Border, which surveyed both illegal and legal
aliens preparing to cross the border or returning from the United States to Mexico between 1993 and
1997. Both projects are directed by Jorge Bustamante of the Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana,
Mexico, in collaboration with Jorge Santibanez and Rodolfo Corona.
30
  In March 1994, the governments of the United States and Mexico agreed to undertake a joint study of
migration between the two countries. National coordinators were designated for each country, with
the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform coordinating the work of U.S. researchers. Results from
the Binational Study on Migration were released in September 1997.


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                           1993 to 1996.31 The study did not find an increase in the overall number of
                           illegal alien deaths over the time period but did find an increase in the
                           number of deaths in the remote areas where immigrants have traveled in
                           an effort to avoid areas of greater enforcement along the border. These
                           deaths in remote areas were purportedly caused by exposure. The study
                           also noted that alien deaths were not recorded systematically by any
                           centralized agency, and local databases were partial and did not use
                           common standards.

                           Immigration researchers and INS officials we spoke with agreed that
                           IDENT data, when more fully available, could be quite useful for
                           examining the flow of illegal aliens across the border. First, IDENT could
                           provide an unduplicated count of the number of persons apprehended.
                           Second, information on the frequency of apprehension of individuals, the
                           time between multiple apprehensions, and the locations where illegal
                           aliens are apprehended could provide a greater understanding of how
                           border enforcement efforts are affecting illegal crossing patterns. Finally,
                           recidivism data have potential for statistically modeling the flow of illegal
                           aliens across the border and the probability of apprehension. INS officials
                           told us in June 1997 that they were examining different analytic techniques
                           that could be used to model the flow.


Indicators of Deterrence   The southwest border strategy is ultimately designed to deter illegal entry
                           into the United States. It states that “The overarching goal of the strategy
                           is to make it so difficult and so costly to enter this country illegally that
                           fewer individuals even try.”32 INS officials told us they had no plans, and
                           there are no plans in the Attorney General’s strategy, to directly examine
                           deterrence—that is, the extent to which potential illegal aliens decide not
                           to make an initial or additional illegal trip to the United States or decide to
                           limit the number of illegal trips they had planned to take.

                           According to some research, decisions to migrate illegally are determined
                           by a complex set of factors; among them are perceptions of border
                           enforcement efforts; economic conditions in the country of origin; demand
                           for labor in the United States; and the extent to which social networks are
                           established that facilitate migration from other countries to the United



                           31
                            K. Eschbach, J. Hagan, N. Rodriguez, R. Hernandez-Leon, and S. Bailey, Death at the Border
                           (Houston: Center for Immigration Research, University of Houston), Working Paper #97-2, June 1997.
                           32
                              Building A Comprehensive Southwest Border Enforcement Strategy (Washington, D.C.: Immigration
                           and Naturalization Service, June 1996), p. 3.



                           Page 50                                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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States.33 The previously mentioned Mexican Migration Project has
collected some survey information on economic conditions in each of the
communities selected for study as well as the extent of social networks
that facilitate migration from these communities to the United States.
Although the validity of the results would depend greatly on the quality of
the underlying data and the appropriateness of the statistical assumptions
made, data from the project may help to (1) estimate annual changes over
a 30-year period in migrants’ likelihood to take an illegal trip to the United
States and (2) examine the factors contributing to decisions to take an
illegal trip.

The Binational Study also conducted interviews with Mexicans concerning
factors affecting their decisions to migrate illegally. Researchers
interviewed residents of several different types of communities in Mexico
that differed in the extent to which patterns of migration to the United
States had taken hold. In older sending communities, nearly all male
residents had made a trip to the United States, and illegal migration was
seen as a rite of passage. Study directors from the U.S. Commission on
Immigration Reform told us that efforts at deterring illegal migration from
these kinds of communities were unlikely to be effective. However, they
said that deterrence efforts might work better with migrants from newer
sending communities, where social networks were not yet well
established. Some people in these communities reportedly were leaving
because of difficult economic circumstances, while others were staying
because they had heard that the trip was harder, more costly, and more
dangerous. Commission officials told us that an evaluation should include
interviews with residents of older and newer sending communities in
Mexico to ascertain their rationales for undertaking trips to the United
States and their perceptions of border-control efforts.

If the border becomes harder to cross illegally, it is possible that some
migrants who might have crossed illegally may try to enter through legal
means by applying for nonimmigrant visas or border-crossing cards.
Information available from INS and the Department of State on the number
of people applying for nonimmigrant visas and border-crossing cards
could be used to track whether greater numbers of aliens are applying for
legal means of entry. Trends in application rates may be difficult to
interpret in the future, however, since aliens already holding


33
 See: D. S. Massey & K. E. Espinosa, “What’s Driving Mexico-U.S. Migration? A Theoretical, Empirical,
and Policy Analysis,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. CII, No. 4 (January 1997), pp. 939-999; and
Binational Study on Migration, Binational Study: Migration Between Mexico & The United States
(Mexico City and Washington, D.C.: Mexican Foreign Ministry and U.S. Commission on Immigration
Reform, September 1997).



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                           border-crossing cards will be required to use new cards containing
                           biometric information, such as the cardholder’s fingerprints, by October 1,
                           1999.34 Application rates may then overstate the actual demand for legal
                           entry to the United States.


Indicators of the Number   The strategy anticipates that enforcement activities will ultimately reduce
of Illegal Aliens in the   the number of illegal aliens in the United States and, thereby, reduce their
United States              use of benefits and social services. INS estimated that the number of illegal
                           aliens residing in the United States grew from 3.9 million in October 1992
                           to 5.0 million in October 1996.35 These estimates are difficult to use to
                           evaluate the impact of the strategy, however, because (1) they focus on
                           long-term illegal residents, rather than illegal aliens who come to the
                           United States for relatively short periods and return periodically to their
                           country of origin; (2) they do not allow for estimates of the extent to
                           which reductions in the flow of illegal immigration across the southwest
                           border may be offset by increases in aliens using legal nonimmigrant visas
                           but overstaying the terms of their visas; (3) they have so far been produced
                           too infrequently to be useful to evaluate short-term effects of enforcement
                           efforts; and (4) a shortage of information about some components of the
                           estimates makes it difficult to estimate the number of illegal aliens without
                           making questionable assumptions about these components. Some
                           additional data sources are available that could supplement INS data.
                           However, considerable effort and research would probably be entailed in
                           actually obtaining adequate estimates of the number of illegal aliens in the
                           United States.

                           There are numerous difficulties in accurately measuring the total number
                           of illegal aliens in the United States and in estimating how many illegal
                           aliens come to this country each year. One of the major difficulties arises
                           because of the heterogeneity of the illegal alien population. Some illegal
                           aliens, referred to as sojourners in the illegal immigration research

                           34
                             Section 104 of the 1996 Act provides that as of April 1, 1998, “border-crossing identification cards,”
                           documents issued to permanent resident aliens or aliens living in a foreign bordering territory, include
                           a machine-readable biometric identifier, such as the fingerprint or handprint of the alien. The act
                           further mandates that by October 1, 1999, an alien presenting a border-crossing identification card is
                           not to be permitted to cross over the border into the United States unless the biometric identifier
                           contained on the card matches the appropriate biometric characteristic of the alien.
                           35
                            In 1994, INS estimated that there were 3.4 million illegal aliens residing in the United States as of
                           October 1992. See: R. Warren, Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the
                           United States, by Country of Origin and State of Residence: October 1992 (Washington, D.C.:
                           Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1994). INS revised the October 1992 estimate, based on new
                           data and improvements in methodology and published the October 1996 estimate in February 1997.
                           See INS Releases Updated Estimates of U.S. Illegal Population (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Immigration
                           and Naturalization Service News Release, February 1997).



                           Page 52                                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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literature, come to the United States on a temporary basis but consider
themselves residents of a foreign country and intend to return. Others,
referred to as settlers, come here with the intention of staying on a more
permanent basis. In addition, illegal aliens differ in their mode of arrival.
Some illegally cross the southwest border; enter illegally along other
borders; or enter illegally at the land, sea, or air ports of entry. Other aliens
enter legally with one of several types of visas and then fail to leave within
the allowed time period.

Border enforcement efforts may have different effects on each of these
groups, some of them not intended or anticipated in the Attorney
General’s strategy. For example, successful border enforcement may
result in sojourners limiting the number of trips they make to the United
States, but staying for longer periods of time, because of the greater
difficulty in crossing the border. In that case, successful border control
would effectively reduce the number of illegal border crossings but could
increase the average length of time that illegal aliens reside in the United
States. Successful border strategies may also discourage sojourners from
crossing the border illegally but may encourage them to try to enter legally
and stay longer than authorized. A comprehensive evaluation that seeks to
determine the effect of the strategy on the number of illegal aliens in the
United States would need to have reliable and valid data on sojourners and
settlers, and on those who enter legally as well as those who overstay. The
evaluation would also have to account for the impact of outside factors,
such as economic conditions in countries of origin and policy changes in
the United States.

In February 1997 INS released estimates of the overall stock of illegal aliens
residing in the United States in October 1996 and updated earlier estimates
that it had made for October 1992, using data collected by INS and the
Census Bureau. According to the latest estimates, 5 million illegal aliens
resided in the United States as of October 1996, up from 3.9 million as of
October 1992. These estimates are difficult to use to evaluate the impact of
enforcement efforts at the border, for a number of reasons. First,
individuals covered in these estimates are defined as those who have
established residence in the United States by remaining here illegally for
more than 12 months. The estimates therefore provide little information
about the number of sojourners who come to the United States and stay
for periods shorter than 1 year. Other kinds of data are needed to examine
the sojourner population.




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Second, uncertainty about the number of people who enter legally with
nonimmigrant visas and stay longer than authorized (overstays) makes it
difficult to assess whether a decrease in the estimated number of illegal
border crossers from Mexico due to border enforcement is offset by an
increase in Mexican overstays. The INS overstay estimates for 1996 contain
a projection based on earlier overstay data, thus the total estimate is
subject to considerable uncertainty. In recent testimony to Congress, INS
admitted that it has been unable to produce estimates of overstays since
1992.36 Indeed, because of problems with the data system on overstays,37
INS acknowledges that it is unable to estimate the current size of the
overstay problem and the magnitude by country of origin.38

Third, estimates made once every 4 years are not suited to identifying
intermediate trends that might signal effects of border enforcement
efforts. INS has calculated an average annual growth rate of 275,000 in the
illegal resident population between 1992 and 1996, but these estimates
result from averaging over 4 years and cannot distinguish yearly changes
in the illegal alien population.

Fourth, INS acknowledges that limited information about some
components of the estimates may increase uncertainty about the size of
the illegal population. For example, limited information about the extent
to which the Mexican-born population may be undercounted and the
number who emigrated from the United States during the period between
estimates necessitate assumptions that affect the precision of the
estimates of the illegal alien population.

Unfortunately, data are limited on the number of illegal alien sojourners
who travel back and forth between Mexico and the United States. The
Binational Study on Migration cited estimates from the previously

36
 Statement of Michael D. Cronin, Assistant Commissioner for Inspections, Immigration and
Naturalization Service, before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, House Judiciary
Committee, June 17, 1997. See also: Office of the Inspector General, Immigration and Naturalization
Service Monitoring of Nonimmigrant Overstays (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice,
September 1997).
37
  The overstay estimates are based on matched records from arrival forms, collected by INS, and
departure forms, collected primarily by airlines. The INS nonimmigrant overstay method estimates the
number of aliens, except students, who after being legally admitted have remained in the United States
longer than they have been authorized to stay. These individuals have been inspected by INS at
authorized ports of entry, and a record of their arrival is known to the government. Border crossers
from Canada and Mexico or crewmen who enter legally through inspection are not included.
38
 Section 110 of the 1996 Act requires INS by October 1, 1998, to develop an automated entry-exit
control system to enable the Attorney General to monitor all entries and exits at ports of entry. Until
such a system is in place, it is likely that considerable uncertainty about the magnitude of overstays
will remain.



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mentioned Northern Border study of the number of both legal and illegal
sojourners traveling to the United States and returning to Mexico in 1993
and 1995. The study found a decrease between 1993 and 1995 in the overall
number of people traveling in each direction. The Binational Study
interpreted these findings to mean that sojourners were likely staying
longer in the United States in 1995 than in 1993. However, the study was
unable to distinguish the size of the illegal from the legal alien flow. The
Mexican Migration Project data have also been used to estimate changes
in net annual illegal migration from Mexico (subtracting estimates of the
number of illegal aliens who return to Mexico from estimates of the
number of illegal aliens who migrate to the United States). Because neither
study was based on data that represented all illegal aliens in the United
States, estimates derived from these studies may be most useful for
looking at trends, rather than absolute levels, of illegal immigration from
Mexico.

Finally, a number of existing data sources provide estimates of the number
of illegal aliens in United States workplaces. Since 1988, the U.S.
Department of Labor has administered its National Agricultural Workers
Survey 3 times a year to a random sample of the nation’s crop farm
workers and has asked respondents about their immigration status, among
other things. Such data may be useful for examining whether border
enforcement efforts have reduced the number, or proportion, of illegal
aliens in a sector that has traditionally attracted high proportions of illegal
migrants, and whether the characteristics of illegal aliens working in
agriculture have changed. An April 1997 report prepared for the U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform, based on National Agricultural
Workers Survey data from 1988 to 1995, showed an increasing percentage
of illegal aliens in agriculture during this time period.39

Many illegal aliens work in sectors other than agriculture, including
urban-sector employment in construction and services.40 INS collects
statistics on the results of targeted and random investigations in U.S.
workplaces. Trends in the number of illegal aliens apprehended at the
workplace may reflect enforcement efforts at the southwest border. For
example, if recent border enforcement efforts are effective, the proportion
of apprehended illegal aliens who have recently arrived in the United


39
 R. Mines, S. Gabbard, & A. Steirman, A Profile of U.S. Farm Workers: Demographics, Household
Composition, Income and Use of Services, (Washington, D.C.: Prepared for the U.S. Commission on
Immigration Reform, April 1997).
40
 The Binational Study notes that there is evidence of a long-term upward trend in U.S. urban-sector
employment—particularly in construction and services—for illegal aliens.



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                         States might decrease at various workplaces. However, changes in the
                         number of illegal aliens apprehended at U.S. workplaces may be a result of
                         other causes, such as greater emphasis by INS staff on investigating
                         whether employers are complying with the law and INS regulations
                         concerning aliens’ right to work in the United States.


INS Evaluation Efforts   INS recognizes that multiple indicators are necessary, and, as part of its
                         fiscal year 1997 priority to strengthen border facilitation and control, INS
                         stated that it would “review past and current studies and initiatives
                         regarding measurements of success of both enforcement and facilitation
                         along the [Southwest] border.”41 An objective within this priority was to
                         make recommendations for appropriate measures and complete
                         implementation plans. However, INS was unable to provide us with any
                         documentation that it or any other Justice component was pursuing a
                         broader, formal evaluation of the southwest border strategy. In June 1997,
                         INS officials told us that they had completed a review of indicators used in
                         the past by INS and others, but had not yet made recommendations
                         regarding what measures would be collected, who would be responsible
                         for collecting the data, or how the data would be analyzed.

                         Along these lines, the Justice Department’s September 1997 Strategic Plan
                         stated that a key element in the Department’s strategic planning process is
                         the “systematic evaluation of major programs and initiatives.” Although
                         the strategic plan described program goals, strategies, and performance
                         indicators for INS, it did not contain a program evaluation component to
                         explain how it will assess success in meeting these goals and, in a broader
                         sense, the effectiveness of the southwest border strategy. Justice’s
                         strategic plan acknowledged that there has been relatively little formal
                         evaluation of its programs in recent years. According to the plan, Justice
                         intends to examine its current approach to evaluation to determine how to
                         better align evaluation with its strategic planning efforts.


                         The Attorney General has a broad strategy for strengthening enforcement
Conclusions              of the Nation’s immigration laws that places priority on deterring illegal
                         entry into the United States along the southwest border. Congress has
                         been supporting efforts to gain control of the southwest border by
                         substantially increasing INS’ funding for enforcement activities. As a result,



                         41
                            FY 97 Priority: Strengthen Border Facilitation and Control (Washington, D.C.: Immigration and
                         Naturalization Service, November 1996).



                         Page 56                                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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the Department of Justice and INS have made some strides in implementing
the strategy.

INS’data on the effects of the implementation of the strategy indicate that a
number of the interim results anticipated by the Attorney General are
occurring. To comprehensively and systematically assess the effects of the
strategy over time, there are a variety of other indicators that may be
useful to provide information on some aspects of each of the results
envisioned by the strategy. INS has collected data and reported on some,
but not all, of these indicators.

Although Justice’s strategic plan recognizes the importance of systematic
evaluation of major initiatives, Justice has no comprehensive evaluation
plan for formally evaluating whether the strategy is achieving its intended
range of results—such as reducing flow across the border, reducing flow
to the border, and reducing the number of illegal aliens who reside in the
United States.

We recognize that developing a formal evaluation plan and implementing a
rigorous and systematic evaluation of the strategy could require a
substantial investment of resources, in part because the needed data may
not be presently available, thereby possibly requiring support for new data
collection efforts. Thus, devising such an evaluation plan should entail
determining the most important data needs and the most appropriate and
cost-effective data sources and data collection activities as well as
carefully analyzing the relationships among various indicators to correctly
interpret the results. Furthermore, data obtained on any set of indicators
should be interpreted in the context of economic conditions and policy
changes in the countries of origin of illegal immigrants and in the United
States to help ensure that the results are attributable to the strategy and
not to other potential causes.

Notwithstanding the challenges in devising such a broad-based evaluation
plan, we believe that the substantial investment of billions of dollars being
made in the Attorney General’s strategy warrants a cost-effective,
comprehensive evaluation to demonstrate whether benefits commensurate
to the investment have been realized. Such an evaluation would also be in
keeping with the concepts embodied in the Government Performance and
Results Act of 1993 as well as the Department’s strategic plan to evaluate
major initiatives.




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                  In addition, a comprehensive evaluation would also assist Justice in
                  identifying whether INS is implementing the strategy as planned; what
                  aspects of the strategy are most effective; and, if the strategy’s goals are
                  not being achieved, the reasons they are not. Such information would help
                  the agency and Congress identify whether changes are needed in the
                  strategy, in policy, in resource levels, or in program management.


                  We recommend that the Attorney General develop and implement a plan
Recommendations   for a formal, cost-effective, comprehensive, systematic evaluation of the
                  strategy to deter illegal entry across the southwest border. This plan
                  should describe (1) the indicators that would be required for the
                  evaluation, (2) the data that need to be collected, (3) mechanisms for
                  collecting the data, (4) controls intended to ensure accuracy of the data
                  collected, (5) expected relationships among the indicators, and
                  (6) procedures for analyzing the data.


                  We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Attorney
Agency Comments   General or her designees. On September 16, 1997, we met to obtain oral
                  comments on the draft report from the INS Executive Associate
                  Commissioner (EAC) for Policy and Planning and other officials from INS’
                  Office of Policy and Planning, Field Operations, Border Patrol,
                  Inspections, Intelligence, Budget, General Counsel, Internal Audit, and
                  Congressional Relations as well as from the Justice Management Division
                  and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. INS and the
                  Executive Office for United States Attorneys followed up this discussion
                  with point sheets, which reiterated their oral comments suggesting
                  clarifications and technical changes. We also requested comments from
                  the Secretary of State and the Acting Commissioner of Customs. The
                  Customs Service had no comments on our draft report. We received
                  technical comments from the Department of State. We made clarifications
                  and technical changes to the draft report where appropriate.

                  Although INS chose not to provide written comments on the report or the
                  recommendation, INS officials told us that they recognize the need for a
                  comprehensive border-wide evaluation and are in the process of designing
                  and implementing one. The evaluation design was not available when we
                  finalized this report; therefore, we are not in a position to assess whether
                  it contains the types of evaluation factors discussed in our
                  recommendation.




                  Page 58                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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We are sending copies of this report to the Attorney General, the
Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Acting
Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, the Secretary of State, the
Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and other interested
parties. We will also make copies available to others upon request.

If you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, please
contact me on (202) 512-8777. This report was done under the direction of
Evi L. Rezmovic, Assistant Director, Administration of Justice Issues.
Other major contributors are listed in Appendix VII.




Richard M. Stana
Acting Associate Director, Administration
  of Justice Issues




Page 59                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Contents



Letter                                                                                              1


Appendix I                                                                                         64
                         Border Patrol                                                             64
Attorney General’s       Inspections at Ports of Entry                                             65
Strategy to Deter        Prosecutions                                                              66
                         Intelligence                                                              67
Illegal Entry Into the   Indicators of Success                                                     67
United States Along      Documents Used to Prepare Analysis                                        68
the Southwest Border
Appendix II                                                                                        70
                         Improvement in the Border-Crossing Identification Card                    70
Status of Selected       New Civil Penalties for Illegal Entry                                     71
Border Enforcement       New Automated Entry/Exit Control System                                   71
Initiatives Mandated
by the 1996 Act
Appendix III                                                                                       73

INS Border Patrol and
Inspections Staffing
and Selected
Workload Data
Appendix IV                                                                                        79

Expert Panel
Participants




                         Page 60                                      GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                          Contents




Appendix V                                                                                            80

Indicators for
Measuring the
Effectiveness of the
Strategy to Deter
Illegal Entry Along the
Southwest Border
Appendix VI                                                                                           91
                          The Mexican Migration Project                                               91
Description of            The Zapata Canyon Project                                                   93
Selected Immigration      Survey of Migration to the Northern Border                                  94
                          The United States-Mexico Binational Study on Migration                      95
Research Projects
Appendix VII                                                                                          97

Major Contributors to
This Report
Bibliography                                                                                          98


Related GAO Products                                                                                 104


Tables                    Table 1: Status of Barriers Along the Southwest Border                      20
                          Table III.1: Authorized Border Patrol Agent Positions in                    73
                            Southwest Border Patrol Sectors, Fiscal Years 1993 - 1997
                          Table III.2: Apprehensions by Southwest Border-Patrol Sector,               73
                            Fiscal Year 1992 Through First Half of Fiscal Year 1997
                          Table III.3: Border Patrol Hours by Southwest Border Patrol                 74
                            Sector, Fiscal Year 1992 Through First Half Fiscal Year 1997
                          Table III.4: Authorized Inspector Positions by Land Ports of Entry          76
                            and INS District Offices Along the Southwest Border, Fiscal
                            Years 1994 - 1997
                          Table III.5: INS Inspections, Selected Workload and Enforcement             77
                            Data by Southwest Border District Offices, Fiscal Year 1994
                            Through First Half Fiscal Year 1997




                          Page 61                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
          Contents




Figures   Figure 1: INS Regions and Border Patrol Sector Headquarters                 6
            Along the Southwest Border
          Figure 2: INS Land Ports of Entry Along the Southwest Border                8
          Figure 3: Allocation of New Agent Positions by Southwest Border            15
            Patrol Sector, Fiscal Years 1994 Through 1997
          Figure 4: Number of On-Board Agents by Southwest Border                    16
            Patrol Sector, October 1993 Compared with July 1997
          Figure 5: Bollard Fencing Being Constructed in San Diego,                  19
            California
          Figure 6: Percentage of Agents’ Time Spent on Border                       22
            Enforcement by Southwest Border Sector, Fiscal Year 1994
            Compared with First Half of Fiscal Year 1997
          Figure 7: Allocation of New Inspectors to Land Ports of Entry              25
            Along the Southwest Border by INS District Office, Fiscal Years
            1994 through 1997
          Figure 8: Number of On-Board Inspectors at Land Ports of Entry             26
            Along the Southwest Border by INS District Office, September
            1994 Compared With March 1997
          Figure 9: Apprehensions (seasonally adjusted) in the San Diego             32
            Border Patrol Sector, October 1992 to March 1997
          Figure 10: Apprehensions (seasonally adjusted) in the El Paso              34
            Border Patrol Sector, October 1992 to March 1997
          Figure 11: Apprehensions in San Diego, El Paso, and Other                  35
            Southwest Border Patrol Sectors, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993
            and 1997
          Figure 12: Apprehensions by Border Patrol Stations in the San              36
            Diego Sector, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993 and 1997
          Figure 13: Apprehensions by Border Patrol Station in the El Paso           38
            Sector, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993 and 1997
          Figure 14: Apprehensions by Border Patrol Station in the Tucson            39
            Sector, First Half of Fiscal Years 1993 and 1997




          Page 62                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Contents




Abbreviations

COLEF      Colegio de la Frontera Norte
EAC        Executive Associate Commissioner
EOIR       Executive Office of Immigration Review
CLASS      Consular Lookout and Support System
INS        Immigration and Naturalization Service
IRCA       Immigration Reform and Control Act
MMP        Mexican Migration Project
NAWS       National Agricultural Workers Survey
OIG        Office of Inspector General
POE        Port of Entry
PQIC       Port Quality Improvement Committees
SAWS       Seasonal Agricultural Workers Survey


Page 63                                     GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix I

Attorney General’s Strategy to Deter Illegal
Entry Into the United States Along the
Southwest Border
                In February 1994, the Attorney General and Immigration and
                Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner announced a comprehensive
                five-part strategy to strengthen enforcement of the nation’s immigration
                laws. The strategy outlined efforts to curb illegal entry and protect legal
                immigration by focusing on five initiatives: (1) strengthening the border;
                (2) removing criminal aliens; (3) reforming the asylum process;
                (4) enforcing workplace immigration laws; and (5) promoting citizenship
                for qualified immigrants. The first priority, strengthening the border,
                focused on immigration control efforts along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican
                border and is summarized here.

                According to the 1994 strategy announced by the Attorney General and the
                INS Commissioner, the first priority was to focus on the areas between the
                ports of entry, which are divided into nine Border Patrol sectors.
                Recognizing the displacement effect of enhanced efforts between the ports
                of entry, the ports of entry along the southwest border were added to
                provide comprehensive coverage, and thus compensate for displacement.
                The new border strategy involved “prevention through deterrence.” This
                strategy called for concentrating new resources on the front lines at the
                most active points of illegal entry along the southwest border.

                The key objectives of the between-the-ports strategy were to (1) close off
                the routes most frequently used by smugglers and illegal aliens (generally
                through urban areas) and (2) shift traffic through the ports of entry or over
                areas that were more remote and difficult to cross illegally, where INS had
                the tactical advantage. To carry out this strategy, INS planned to provide
                the Border Patrol and other INS enforcement divisions with the personnel,
                equipment, and technology to deter, detect, and apprehend illegal aliens.

                INSalso had related objectives of preventing illegal entry through the ports,
                increasing prosecutions of smugglers and aliens who repeatedly enter the
                United States illegally, and improving the intelligence available to border
                patrol agents and port inspectors.


                In July 1994, the Border Patrol developed its own plan to carry out the
Border Patrol   Attorney General’s between-the-ports strategy. The plan, still current in
                September 1997, was to maximize the risk of apprehension, using
                increased human and physical barriers to entry to make passage more
                difficult so that many will consider it futile to continue to attempt illegal
                entry through traditional routes. Consistent with the Attorney General’s
                strategy, the Border Patrol sought to bring a decisive number of



                Page 64                                           GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                              Appendix I
                              Attorney General’s Strategy to Deter Illegal
                              Entry Into the United States Along the
                              Southwest Border




                              enforcement resources to bear in each major entry corridor so that illegal
                              aliens would be deterred from using traditional corridors of entry.

                              The plan called for targeting resources to the areas of greatest illegal
                              activity in four phases:

                          •   Phase I -Concentrate efforts in San Diego (Operation Gatekeeper) and El
                              Paso (Operation Hold-the-Line), since these two areas historically
                              accounted for 65 percent of all apprehensions along the southwest border,
                              and contain displacement effects in the El Centro and Tucson sectors.
                          •   Phase II -Control the Tucson and south Texas corridors.
                          •   Phase III -Control the remainder of the southwest border.
                          •   Phase IV -Control all other areas outside the southwest border, and
                              concentrate on the northern border and water avenues (for example,
                              Pacific and Gulf coasts).

                              The Border Patrol strategic plan directed intense enforcement efforts at
                              the areas of greatest illegal activity. This strategy differed from the
                              previous practice of thinly allocating Border Patrol agents along the
                              border as new resources became available. Each southwest sector
                              developed its own tactical plan detailing how it would implement the
                              Border Patrol’s strategic plan. According to the plan, each sector was to
                              focus first on controlling urban areas and increase the percentage of
                              border-control hours on the front lines of the border in such duties as
                              linewatch,1 patrol, checkpoints, and air operations.


                              To complement the Border Patrol’s strategic plan, which will be carried
Inspections at Ports of       out between the ports of entry, INS Inspections developed Operations
Entry                         2000+ in September 1996 to enhance operations at the ports of entry. This
                              plan called for increasing the identification and interception of criminals
                              and illegal entrants. To accommodate legal entry while enhancing its
                              efforts to deter illegal entry at the ports of entry, INS will increase its use of
                              technology to improve management of legal traffic and commerce. As part
                              of this effort, INS had several pilot projects ongoing to use dedicated
                              commuter lanes and automated entry systems to speed the flow of
                              frequent low-risk travelers through the ports. The use of automated
                              systems could then free inspectors’ time to be spent on other enforcement
                              activities.



                              1
                               Patrolling the immediate border area.



                              Page 65                                            GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                   Appendix I
                   Attorney General’s Strategy to Deter Illegal
                   Entry Into the United States Along the
                   Southwest Border




                   In concert with INS’ efforts to deter illegal entry, the Attorney General
Prosecutions       seeks to increase prosecutions of alien smugglers, coyotes,2 and those
                   with criminal records who repeatedly reenter the United States after
                   having been removed. This program involves several aspects regarding the
                   federal prosecution function and is intended

               •   to develop, through the U.S. Attorneys in the five judicial districts
                   contiguous to the U.S.-Mexico border, federal prosecution policies to
                   (1) support enforcement strategies implemented at the ports of entry by
                   INS and U.S. Customs and between the ports by the Border Patrol,
                   (2) maximize crime reduction in border communities, (3) minimize
                   border-related violence, and (4) engender respect for the rule of law at the
                   border. These policies include (1) targeting criminal aliens for 8 U.S.C.
                   13263 prosecution, (2) targeting coyotes to disrupt the smuggling
                   infrastructure, (3) increasing alien smuggling prosecutions, (4) increasing
                   false document vendor prosecutions, (5) enforcing civil rights laws,
                   (6) prosecuting assaults against federal officers, and (7) prosecuting
                   border-related corruption cases.
               •   to coordinate the use of INS/Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR)
                   administrative sanctions and the application of federal criminal sanctions
                   to achieve an integrated and cost-effective approach to the goal of
                   deterrence in border law enforcement. This step includes (1) enforcing
                   EOIR orders as predicates for federal prosecution under section 1326, and
                   (2) using INS/EOIR removal orders and section 1326 provisions to prosecute
                   coyotes.
               •   to enhance cooperation between federal immigration authorities and state
                   and local law enforcement agencies to (1) leverage INS enforcement efforts
                   through coordination with local law enforcement as allowed by law;
                   (2) identify arrestees’ immigration status to facilitate choice at the outset
                   of official processing among the options of administrative sanctioning,
                   federal criminal prosecution, and state criminal prosecutions; and
                   (3) ensure removal by immigration authorities of criminal aliens from the
                   country, following service of state and local sentences after conviction.
                   This plan involves (1) instituting county jail programs, (2) employing state
                   and local police to supplement INS personnel, (3) allocating cases
                   effectively between federal and state prosecutors, and (4) integrating
                   information/identification systems among jurisdictions.

                   The Attorney General designated the U.S. Attorney for the Southern
                   District of California as her Southwest border representative and directed

                   2
                    Foot guides.
                   3
                    Statute providing criminal penalties for reentry of certain deported aliens.



                   Page 66                                                           GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                            Appendix I
                            Attorney General’s Strategy to Deter Illegal
                            Entry Into the United States Along the
                            Southwest Border




                            him to coordinate the border law enforcement responsibilities of various
                            Justice Department agencies—including INS, the Drug Enforcement
                            Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation—with activities
                            undertaken by the Treasury Department and the Department of Defense.


                            Another part of the strategy to deter illegal entry across the Southwest
Intelligence                border was to reengineer INS’ Intelligence program so the border patrol
                            agents and port inspectors could better anticipate and respond to changes
                            in illegal entry and smuggling patterns. By the end of fiscal year 1997, INS
                            expected to have an approved strategic plan for collecting and reporting
                            intelligence information, integrating additional assets into the Intelligence
                            program, and assessing field intelligence requirements. In addition,
                            intelligence training and standard operating procedures for district and
                            sector personnel were to be developed.


                            As the strategy is being carried out, the Department anticipates that its
Indicators of Success       success will be measurable using more indicators than the one
                            traditionally used: apprehensions. The Department anticipates the
                            following measurable results to occur:

                        •   an initial increase in arrests between the ports and then an eventual
                            reduction of arrests and recidivism in traditional corridors;
                        •   shift in the flow of illegal alien entries from the most frequent routes
                            (generally through urban areas) to more remote areas;
                        •   increased port-of-entry activities, including increased entry attempts and
                            increased use of fraudulent documents;
                        •   increased instances of more sophisticated methods of smuggling at
                            checkpoints;
                        •   increased fees charged by smugglers;
                        •   increased numbers of criminal aliens prosecuted for entering the country
                            illegally;
                        •   increased numbers of alien smugglers, coyotes, and false document
                            vendors prosecuted;
                        •   increased numbers of deportations of people presenting false documents;
                            and,
                        •   reduced violence at the border (for example, less instances of border
                            banditry).

                            Further, although the Department will not be able to measure them and
                            many complex variables other than border enforcement affect them, the



                            Page 67                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                        Appendix I
                        Attorney General’s Strategy to Deter Illegal
                        Entry Into the United States Along the
                        Southwest Border




                        Department believes its enhanced enforcement activities will have a
                        positive impact on the following:

                    •   fewer illegal immigrants in the interior of the United States and
                    •   reduction in the use of social services and benefits by illegal aliens in the
                        United States.


                        The following documents, listed in chronological order, were used to
Documents Used to       prepare our summary of the Attorney General’s strategy to deter illegal
Prepare Analysis        entry into the U.S. along the Southwest border:

                        Department of Justice, Attorney General and INS Commissioner Announce
                        Two-Year Strategy to Curb Illegal Immigration, Press Release, February 3,
                        1994.

                        U.S. Government Printing Office, Accepting the Immigration Challenge,
                        The President’s Report on Immigration, 1994.

                        INS, Strategic Plan: Toward INS 2000, Accepting the Challenge, November 2,
                        1994.

                        INS,
                           Border Patrol Strategic Plan 1994 and Beyond, National Strategy, U.S.
                        Border Patrol, July 1994.

                        INS,
                           Priority 2: Strengthen Border Enforcement and Facilitation, Fiscal
                        Year 1996 Priority Implementation Plan.

                        Department of Justice, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, USA
                        Bulletin, Vol. 44, Number 2, April 1996.

                        Department of Justice, INS, Building a Comprehensive Southwest Border
                        Enforcement Strategy, June 1996.

                        Department of Justice, INS, Meeting the Challenge Through Innovation,
                        September 1996.

                        INSOffice of Inspections, Inspections 2000+: A Strategic Framework for
                        the Inspections Program, September 1996.

                        Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.




                        Page 68                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix I
Attorney General’s Strategy to Deter Illegal
Entry Into the United States Along the
Southwest Border




INS,   Operation Gatekeeper, Two Years of Progress, October 1996.

INS,   Strengthen Border Facilitation and Control, Fiscal Year 1997 Priorities.

Department of Justice, INS, Immigration Enforcement, Meeting the
Challenge, A Record of Progress, January 1997.

In addition, we reviewed the strategies prepared in 1994 by the Border
Patrol’s nine southwest border sectors.




Page 69                                           GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix II

Status of Selected Border Enforcement
Initiatives Mandated by the 1996 Act

                      Subtitle A, Title I of the 1996 Act mandates further improvements in
                      border-control operations. These include improvement in the
                      border-crossing identification card, new civil penalties for illegal entry or
                      attempted entry, and a new automated entry/exit control system. The
                      status of initiatives to address these provisions is discussed below.


                      Section 104 of the 1996 Act provides that documents issued on or after
Improvement in the    April 1, 1998, bearing the designation “border-crossing identification
Border-Crossing       cards” include a machine-readable biometric identifier, such as the
Identification Card   fingerprint or handprint of the alien. The 1996 Act further mandates that
                      by October 1, 1999, an alien presenting a border-crossing identification
                      card is not to be permitted to cross over the border into the United States
                      unless the biometric identifier contained on the card matches the
                      appropriate biometric characteristic of the alien.

                      According to INS Inspections officials, as of September 1997, initiatives to
                      implement this provision were under way, but several issues had yet to be
                      resolved. An INS official told us that INS and the State Department have
                      reached a mutual decision on the biometric characteristics to be used on
                      the card. A digitized color photograph, with potential use for facial
                      recognition as that technology advances, will be collected. Live scan prints
                      of both index fingers will also be collected. These fingerprints are
                      compatible with IDENT, INS’ automated fingerprint identification system.
                      However, the system to be used to verify this information at the point of
                      entry into the United States had not been determined. According to the
                      official, resolution of this problem is necessary since currently no viable
                      technology available can implement what the law requires. INS plans to
                      pilot test a biometric card for pedestrians at the Hidalgo, Texas port of
                      entry by the end of calendar year 1997.

                      The new system would also change which federal agency provides
                      border-crossing cards and which agency produces the cards as well as
                      where the cards are available. Currently, INS Immigration Inspectors at
                      ports of entry and some State Department consular officers adjudicate
                      applications and issue border-crossing cards. The INS Commissioner and
                      the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, on September 9 and
                      September 18, 1997, respectively, signed a memorandum of understanding
                      on how the revised border-crossing card process would work. Under the
                      new system, the State Department will take over all adjudication of these
                      cards. Foreign services posts will collect the fees and necessary data,
                      including the biometric, and will send the data electronically to INS. INS will



                      Page 70                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                      Appendix II
                      Status of Selected Border Enforcement
                      Initiatives Mandated by the 1996 Act




                      produce the cards. According to a State Department official, consular
                      officers will check border-crossing card applicants against the State
                      Department’s Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS)1 to identify
                      those that may be ineligible. The actual details of how the system will
                      operate are, however, still being worked out, e.g., how to handle the
                      volume of applicants. INS officials said that if all goes as expected, the new
                      process will be in place on April 1, 1998.


                      Section 105 of the 1996 Act mandates new civil penalties for illegal entry.
New Civil Penalties   Any alien apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United
for Illegal Entry     States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers
                      is subject to a civil penalty of at least $50 and not more than $250 for each
                      such entry or attempted entry. The penalty is doubled for an alien who has
                      been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection. Moreover,
                      such penalties are in addition to, not instead of, any criminal or other civil
                      penalties that may be imposed. This provision applies to illegal entries or
                      attempts to enter occurring on or after April 1, 1997.

                      As of September 1997, INS was still studying this issue. According to an INS
                      official, a working group met in April 1997 and prepared an option papers
                      for INS’ Policy Council. Based on this preliminary analysis, the council
                      concluded that the program’s administration would probably cost more
                      than the fines collected and the fines would not deter individuals, since
                      few individuals would have the money to pay the fines. Accordingly, the
                      INS Policy Council requested further study of the potential effects of the
                      program before proceeding further with implementation. Such a study was
                      on-going as of September 1997. No deadline was set for the study. Further
                      development of the rules and regulations required to implement the
                      program will depend on the results of the study.


                      Section 110 of the 1996 Act directs the Attorney General to develop an
New Automated         automated entry and exit control system by October 1, 1998, to (1) collect
Entry/Exit Control    data on each alien departing the United States and match the record of
System                departure with that of the alien’s arrival in the United States and (2) enable
                      the Attorney General to identify through on-line searching procedures,
                      lawfully admitted nonimmigrants who remain in the United States beyond
                      the time authorized.



                      1
                      CLASS is the State Department’s name-check system, which contains information on foreign nationals
                      who may apply for visas to the United States.



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Appendix II
Status of Selected Border Enforcement
Initiatives Mandated by the 1996 Act




According to INS Inspections officials, this system is in the early
development stage. INS is pilot testing a system for air travelers and
believes it will have a system in place for them within the 2-year mandated
time period.

However, many implementation issues remain regarding travelers who
enter and exit across the land borders. For example, how will exit control
be done for those driving across the land borders? Will everyone entering
the United States, including citizens, be checked? If so, how do you check
everyone? If not, how do you know who is an alien and who is not? INS
expects to test a pilot project for an arrival/departure system for
pedestrian crossers at the Eagle Pass, Texas land port of entry. According
to INS Inspections officials, INS plans to ask Congress for more time to
implement such as a system at land ports of entry, but had not done so as
of September 1997. At that time, INS had at the Office of Management and
Budget a technical amendment requesting more time to implement the
system for land ports of entry.

Officials also indicated that there is some concern regarding different
mandates in the 1996 Act. For example, while the act specifies that the
biometric is for the border-crossing card, the provision mandating the
automated entry/exit system includes no mention of using a biometric.




Page 72                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix III

INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
and Selected Workload Data


Table III.1: Authorized Border Patrol Agent Positions in Southwest Border Patrol Sectors, Fiscal Years 1993 - 1997
                           Authorized                                                                                     Total
                               Agents         Authorized increases each year               Total increase            Authorized
Border Patrol Sector            FY 93a       FY 94        FY 95     FY 96     FY 97        FY 94-97    Percent     agents FY 97
San Diego                        980           300          229           428          278              1235            44                 2215
El Centro                        194             0             0             0           50                50            2                    244
Yuma                             178             0             0             0            0                 0            0                    178
Tucson                           281             0          128           246          228               602            21                    883
El Paso                          602            50            93          101          107               351            12                    953
Marfa                            131             0             0             0            0                 0            0                    131
Del Rio                          290             0          100              0           52              152             5                    442
Laredo                           347             0            75             0           49              124             4                    471
McAllen                          386             0            75           25          228               328            12                    714
Total Southwest                 3389           350          700           800          992b             2842           100                 6231
Border
                                           a
                                            According to INS officials, the number of on-board agents as of September 30, 1993, is
                                           considered as fiscal year 1993 authorized border patrol staffing levels for comparison purposes.
                                           b
                                            Does not include eight agents deployed to Puerto Rico for the Attorney General’s Puerto Rico
                                           Anti-Crime initiative.

                                           Source: INS.




Table III.2: Apprehensions by Southwest Border-Patrol Sector, Fiscal Year 1992 Through First Half of Fiscal Year 1997
Border Patrol
sector                          FY 92           FY 93              FY 94            FY 95               FY 96 First half FY 97
San Diego                    565,581            531,689              450,152               524,231               483,815              172,339
El Centro                      29,852            30,058                27,654                 37,317              66,873               57,438
Yuma                           24,892            23,548                21,211                 20,894              28,310               15,376
Tucson                         71,036            92,639              139,473               227,529               305,348              140,077
El Paso                      248,642            285,781                79,688              110,971               145,929               69,362
Marfa                          13,819            15,486                13,494                 11,552              13,214                   6,622
Del Rio                        33,414            42,289                50,036                 76,490             121,137               61,567
Laredo                         72,449            82,348                73,142                 93,305             131,841               75,475
McAllen                        85,889           109,048              124,251               169,101               210,553              131,643
Total southwest             1,145,574          1,212,886             979,101             1,271,390              1,507,020             729,899
border
                                           Source: INS.




                                           Page 73                                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                                              Appendix III
                                              INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
                                              and Selected Workload Data




Table III.3: Border Patrol Hours by Southwest Border Patrol Sector, Fiscal Year 1992 Through First Half Fiscal Year 1997
Border Patrol Sector                  FY 92           FY 93             FY 94           FY 95             FY 96 First half FY 97
San Diego
General enforcement                  55,687              59,050            72,240            43,884            26,695            7,457
Program support                    720,097              917,149           933,549          1,030,319        1,255,970          766,895
Border enforcement                 866,500             1,067,872        1,004,232          1,361,983        1,756,647        1,021,266
Total                             1,642,284            2,044,071        2,010,021          2,436,186        3,039,312        1,795,618


El Centro
General enforcement                  27,619              27,396            24,871            19,252            14,648            5,376
Program support                    139,131              149,095           138,529           143,259           148,241           73,628
Border enforcement                 280,491              246,289           249,180           248,206           251,101          109,240
Total                              447,241              422,780           412,580           410,717           413,990          188,244


Yuma
General enforcement                  33,772              34,645            29,259            20,087            16,511            5,100
Program support                      94,731             104,368           102,467           112,633           105,227           51,941
Border enforcement                 279,030              255,330           258,137           249,374           257,871          118,558
Total                              407,533              394,343           389,863           382,094           379,609          175,599


Tucson
General enforcement                  21,898              25,418            20,756            15,768            17,557            5,513
Program support                    219,951              264,022           250,294           316,267           395,867          305,885
Border enforcement                 295,429              315,541           344,813           365,489           500,349          298,793
Total                              537,278              604,981           615,863           697,524           913,773          610,191


El Paso
General enforcement                  88,711              84,074            37,365            50,331            34,967           17,318
Program support                    391,691              414,460           273,088           361,939           477,792          268,626
Border enforcement                 707,507              809,921         1,023,146           964,533         1,028,846          516,186
Total                             1,187,909            1,308,455        1,333,599          1,376,803        1,541,605          802,130


Marfa
General enforcement                  63,492              46,467            42,755            36,854            13,757            2,003
Program support                      89,312              99,873            93,757            89,693            91,170           40,558
Border enforcement                 168,120              172,732           173,084           167,585           157,773           83,746
Total                              320,924              319,072           309,596           294,132           262,700          126,307
                                                                                                                            (continued)




                                             Page 74                                                   GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                                   Appendix III
                                   INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
                                   and Selected Workload Data




Border Patrol Sector      FY 92                FY 93             FY 94               FY 95                FY 96 First half FY 97
Del Rio
General enforcement      57,079               30,854            26,073              22,077               17,742                3,456
Program support         217,709             226,377            222,617             233,946             310,483              160,515
Border enforcement      453,309             396,972            382,607             399,761             501,760              252,388
Total                   728,097             654,203            631,297             655,784             829,985              416,359


Laredo
General enforcement      30,279               25,342            24,199              19,884               19,664                6,036
Program support         182,963             188,928            165,711              75,005             210,034              105,349
Border enforcement      485,064             566,219            568,169             536,463             615,189              317,902
Total                   698,306             780,489            758,079             731,352             844,887              429,287


McAllen
General enforcement      40,662               47,543            45,016              39,511               23,261              10,395
Program support         279,164             358,910            355,743             353,511             418,905              214,308
Border enforcement      378,562             482,576            470,671             470,868             551,726              274,431
Total                   698,388             889,029            871,430             863,890             993,892              499,134


Southwest
Border
General enforcement     419,199             380,789            322,534             267,648             184,802               62,654
Program support        2,334,749           2,723,182         2,535,755           2,816,572           3,413,689            1,987,705
Border enforcement     3,914,012           4,313,452         4,474,039           4,764,262           5,621,262            2,992,510
Total                  6,667,960           7,417,423         7,522,360           7,848,482           9,219,753            5,042,869

                               Note: General Enforcement includes duties indirectly related to deterrence, detection, and
                               apprehensions of illegal aliens, such as employer sanctions, criminal aliens and antismuggling
                               activities. Program Support includes hours that support enforcement duties such as, air
                               operations, intelligence, administrative/supervisory, special operations and training. Border
                               Enforcement includes duties directly related to the deterrence, detection and apprehension of
                               illegal aliens and interdiction of drugs and other contraband along the border, such as patrolling
                               the immediate border area, traffic check, transportation check, and boat and air patrol.

                               Source: INS.




                               Page 75                                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                                           Appendix III
                                           INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
                                           and Selected Workload Data




Table III.4: Authorized Inspector Positions by Land Ports of Entry and INS District Offices Along the Southwest Border,
Fiscal Years 1994 - 1997
                                                                                                                         Total
                                   Authorized                                                       Total             authorized
INS district and land ports of     inspectors        Authorized increases each year             increase              inspectors
entry                                   FY 94          FY 95         FY 96a             FY 97   FY 95-97    Percent         FY 97
San Diego District                        301             64            220               80         364         46           665
  San Ysidro (2)                          199             64            142               24
  Tecate                                     4             0             19                0
  Calexico                                  94             0             45               48
  Andrade                                    4             0             14                8
Phoenix District                          104              8            106                8         122         15           226
  San Luis                                  20             0             11                5
  Sasabe                                     3             0             15                0
  Nogales (2)                               57b            8             33                0
  Naco                                       5             0             13                0
  Lukeville                                  4             0             20                0
  Douglas                                   15             0             14                3
El Paso District                          163             11            108                0         119         15           282
  Columbus                                   8             0              4                0
  Santa Teresa                               0             0             10                0
                                              b
  El Paso (2)                             134             11             65                0
  Fabens                                     7             0              5                0
  Fort Hancock                               3             0              1                0
  Presidio                                  11             0              8                0
  Ysleta                                     0             0             15                0
San Antonio District                      143              6             56               14          76         10           219
                                                b
  Laredo (3)                                93             6             42                5
  Eagle Pass                                26             0              7                6
  Del Rio (2)                               24             0              7                3
Harlingen District                        158             21             46               48         115         14           273
  Roma                                      24             0              2                0
  Rio Grande City                            0             0              2                6
  Progresso                                 19             0              6                0
  Pharr                                      7             0              6                4
  Los Indios                                 0             0              1                6
  Los Ebanos                                 0             0              2                1
  Hidalgo                                   46             0             12                4
  Falcoln Heights                            0             0              0                3
                                                b
  Brownsville (2)                           62            21             15               24
                                                                                                                       (continued)

                                           Page 76                                                GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                                               Appendix III
                                               INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
                                               and Selected Workload Data




                                                                                                                                           Total
                                        Authorized                                                               Total                  authorized
INS district and land ports of          inspectors        Authorized increases each year                     increase                   inspectors
entry                                        FY 94            FY 95           FY 96a             FY 97       FY 95-97        Percent            FY 97
Total southwest border                        869               110              536                  150          796           100             1665

                                               Note: Some locations have more than one port of entry.
                                               a
                                                Includes 136 inspector positions authorized in fiscal year 1994 and funded by land-border fees.
                                               According to INS officials, these inspectors were not hired until fiscal year 1996, due to delays in
                                               getting land-border fee regulations finalized.
                                               b
                                                Includes one staff assigned to the district office.

                                               Source: INS.




Table III.5: INS Inspections, Selected Workload and Enforcement Data by Southwest Border District Offices, Fiscal Year
1994 Through First Half Fiscal Year 1997
INS District Office                                    FY 94               FY 95                  FY 96        First half FY 97
San Diego
U.S. citizens inspecteda                               28,808,845                  26,776,081                 26,342,930                  14,249,519
                 a
Aliens inspected                                       63,152,638                  59,387,840                 57,278,208                  30,065,972
Total persons inspecteda                               91,961,483                  86,163,921                 83,621,138                  44,315,491
Pedestrians inspected                                                              16,744,829                 19,420,202                   9,969,126
Vehicles inspected                                                                 28,094,028                 26,152,680                  13,941,527
Fraudulent documents intercepted                            41,974                      46,515                     41,221                      20,270
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship                       15,403                      19,368                     12,633                       5,292
Individuals smuggled                                          6,565                       5,377                      6,581                      4,207
Phoenix
U.S. citizens inspecteda                               11,717,738                    8,299,518                 8,313,959                   4,332,991
Aliens inspecteda                                      23,268,288                  23,072,110                 23,035,160                  11,897,583
Total persons inspecteda                               34,986,026                  31,371,628                 31,349,119                  16,230,574
Pedestrians inspected                                                                7,806,361                 7,657,480                   9,969,126
Vehicles inspected                                                                   8,951,615                 8,984,091                  13,941,527
Fraudulent documents intercepted                              7,599                       6,367                      5,338                      3,003
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship                           825                         686                        772                            500
Individuals smuggled                                            279                         253                        427                            241
El Paso
U.S. citizens inspecteda                               27,230,751                  24,975,450                 22,481,928                  11,180,053
                 a
Aliens inspected                                       42,033,208                  39,821,598                 36,339,994                  18,248,564
Total persons inspecteda                               69,263,959                  64,797,048                 58,821,922                  29,428,617
Pedestrians inspected                                                                4,578,798                 4,571,073                   2,213,165
                                                                                                                                          (continued)



                                               Page 77                                                          GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                                        Appendix III
                                        INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
                                        and Selected Workload Data




INS District Office                                    FY 94                   FY 95                     FY 96          First half FY 97
Vehicles inspected                                                       18,143,401                17,529,375                  8,833,279
Fraudulent documents intercepted                       8,173                   8,754                    11,034                      6,720
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship                  4,567                   5,887                     6,725                      4,092
Individuals smuggled                                    751                      599                       611                           388
San Antonio
U.S. citizens inspecteda                       18,668,021                13,979,554                14,355,119                  7,379,551
Aliens inspecteda                              39,567,895                41,165,203                39,708,171                21,462,035
Total persons inspecteda                       58,235,916                 55144,757                54,063,290                28,841,586
Pedestrians inspected                                                     7,289,530                  5,219,599                 2,914,118
Vehicles inspected                                                       11,454,275                13,026,781                  6,383,029
Fraudulent documents intercepted                       6,338                   6,100                     7,636                      5,040
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship                  1,467                   1,284                     1,541                      1,008
Individuals smuggled                                   1,559                   1,224                     1,349                           706
Harlingen
U.S. Citizens inspecteda                       20,831,853                12,920,985                12,849,749                  7,073,072
                 a
Aliens inspected                               40,564,252                39,536,870                40,258,253                20,735,209
Total persons inspecteda                       61,396,105                52,457,855                53,108,002                27,808,281
Pedestrians inspected                                                     7,348,097                  1,943,636                 4,189,713
Vehicles inspected                                                       14,412,630                15,195,266                  7,811,192
Fraudulent documents intercepted                       9,176                   7,100                     9,681                      5,386
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship                  1,264                   1,549                     1,702                           773
Individuals smuggled                                   1,394                     897                     1,299                           762
Southwest Border
U.S. citizens inspecteda                     107,257,208                 86,951,588                84,343,685                44,215,186
Aliens inspecteda                            208,586,281                202,983,621               196,619,786               102,409,363
Total persons inspecteda                     315,843,489                289,935,209               280,963,471               146,624,549
Pedestrians inspected                                                    43,767,615                44,811,990                23,824,075
Vehicles inspected                                                       81,055,949                80,888,193                41,553,145
Fraudulent documents intercepted                    73,260                    74,836                    74,910                    40,419
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship               23,526                    28,774                    23,373                    11,615
Individuals smuggled                                10,548                     8,350                    10,267                      6,304

                                        a
                                         Estimate based on periodic sampling of the number of occupants per vehicles entering the port
                                        of entry.

                                        Source: INS.




                                        Page 78                                                      GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix IV

Expert Panel Participants


               The following experts in research on illegal immigration issues paticipated
               in a panel discussion held at GAO in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 1997.
               They also reviewed portions of the draft report.

               Deborah Cobb-Clark
               Professor of Economics
               Research School of Social Sciences
               The Australian National University
               Canberra, Australia

               Sherrie Kossoudji
               Professor of Economics
               The School of Social Work
               University of Michigan
               Ann Arbor, MI

               B. Lindsay Lowell
               Director of Policy Research
               U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform
               Washington, D.C.

               Philip Martin
               Professor of Economics
               Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
               University of California, Davis
               Davis, CA

               Douglas Massey
               Professor of Sociology
               Population Studies Center
               University of Pennsylvania
               Philadelphia, PA




               Page 79                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix V

Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
the Southwest Border

                                                                                Predicted outcome if AG’s
                Indicator                        Source of data                 strategy is successful
                A. Flow across the Southwest border
                Border Patrol apprehensions. INS                                1. Displacement of flow in
                                                                                accordance with Border
                                                                                Patrol strategy.

                                                                                2. Increasing apprehensions
                                                                                at first; eventual reductions
                                                                                as control is gained.
                Detection of illegal aliens      Border Patrol sector data:     Fewer aliens detected.
                crossing the border.
                                                 1. Sensor hits.                Fewer “gotaways.”
                Number of “gotaways.”            2. Sign cuts.
                                                 3. Infrared and low-light
                                                 television cameras.

                Recidivism (repeat               INS IDENT system.              Attempted reentries will
                apprehensions of aliens).                                       decrease over time.




                Probability of apprehension.     Multiple sources:              An increase in the probability
                                                                                of apprehension.
                Difficulty in crossing border.   1. IDENT recidivism data.

                                                 2. Mexican Migration
                                                 Project (MMP) provides
                                                 annual data from Mexican
                                                 migrants on the number of
                                                 times they were captured
                                                 on trips to the U.S. and
                                                 places where they were
                                                 apprehended.

                                                 3. Colegio de la Frontera
                                                 Norte (COLEF) surveys of
                                                 border crossers (Zapata
                                                 Canyon Project and Survey
                                                 of Migration to the Northern
                                                 Border).

                                                 4. Focus group interviews in
                                                 Mexico (Binational Study on
                                                 Migration).




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                                              Appendix V
                                              Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
                                              of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
                                              the Southwest Border




                                                                     Is indicator currently being    Are there plans to measure
Findings                        Limitations                          measured?                       indicator on ongoing basis?


Mixed (see letter).             1. Measures event, not individuals. Currently collected along the    Yes
                                                                    entire southwest border.
                                2. Unclear relationship to actual
                                flow of illegal aliens.

                                3. No information on those aliens
                                who elude capture.
Not determined.                 No systematic methodology for        Yes, in some places.            Yes
                                measuring entries and gotaways;
                                likely differs across sectors.

                                Measures event, not individuals.


None yet                        1. Limited IDENT implementation      Yes, but not completely         Yes
                                along southwest border.              implemented along southwest
                                                                     border.
                                2. No usable data preceding AG
                                strategy, precluding a time-series
                                analysis of its effectiveness.

                                3. Not yet clear how recidivism
                                data will be used to model the
                                flow. Several possible analytic
                                models can be tested.
Analyses of MMP data show       Household surveys conducted in       Yes                             Yes
a decrease in the probability   Mexico (e.g., the MMP) and
of apprehension through         surveys of migrants at points of
1995.                           entry and exit between the U.S.
                                and Mexico (e.g., the Survey of
Binational study data show      Migration to the Northern Border)
increasing probability of       sample different subpopulations
apprehension in recent          of migrants, who may differ in
years.                          their likelihood of apprehension.

                                MMP data are only collected
                                annually, and retrospective
                                accounts of apprehensions may
                                be biased.

                                There isn’t consensus on the
                                methodology for estimating
                                probability of apprehension.




                                                                                                                         (continued)



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Appendix V
Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
the Southwest Border




                                                                Predicted outcome if AG’s
Indicator                       Source of data                  strategy is successful
Estimated number of illegal     INS INTEX system —              An increase in the number of
entry attempts at U.S. ports    random checks of                aliens attempting to enter
of entry (POE).                 travelers at POEs.              illegally at POEs.




Alien smuggling:                Multiple sources:           An increase in smuggling
                                                            fees and sophistication of
1. Smuggling usage.             1. INS intelligence data as smugglers. Smugglers may
                                well as intelligence data   try other means of delivering
2. Smuggling costs.             from other federal and      aliens to destinations (e.g.,
                                state agencies.             using vans, small trucks, and
3. Tactics of smugglers.                                    tractor trailers).
                                2. MMP data .

                                3. COLEF data.

                                4. Binational study.
Number of people in hotels      INS intelligence                An increase in the number of
and shelters in Mexican         information.                    people in hotels and shelters
border cities.                                                  in Mexican border cities.
                                Periodic surveys by
                                interested organizations.

                                Binational study site visits.




Crime in U.S. border cities.    Local crime data.               Less crime in U.S. border
                                                                cities.




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                                               Appendix V
                                               Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
                                               of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
                                               the Southwest Border




                                                                       Is indicator currently being     Are there plans to measure
Findings                         Limitations                           measured?                        indicator on ongoing basis?
INTEX not yet implemented.       The causes of illegal POE entries No                                   Yes
                                 may be difficult to disentangle.
                                 For example, increased illegal
                                 attempts may reflect more
                                 effective Border Patrol strategies
                                 between the ports, an increase in
                                 the flow of illegal migrants, or
                                 simply a more effective inspection
                                 strategy at the POE.

                                 INTEX methodology is still being
                                 tested.
According to INS                 Changes in smuggling fees and         Yes                              Yes
Intelligence, smuggling fees     tactics may indicate that border
are increasing.                  crossing is more difficult.
                                 However it does not necessarily
Binational study data            indicate that migrants are less
suggest a rise in more           successful at entering.
organized smuggling rings.




Mixed.                           Number of people in hotels and        Not clear how systematically data Yes
                                 shelters may be affected by           are collected across the
INS reports that migrant         economic opportunities in border      southwest border.
shelters in Mexican border       cities.
cities are filling up, and
people are staying longer.

Binational study site visits
found no “backup” in Tijuana
as result of enforcement
efforts in San Diego.
There was a reduction in         Crime may be dropping overall,      Not clear how systematically data Unknown
“nuisance” crimes by             regardless of effects of border     are collected across the
juveniles and young adults       strategy. Need to control for such southwest border.
after implementation of          effects using time-series analyses.
Operation Hold-the-Line in El
Paso, according to 1994          However, drops in specific types
Commission on Immigration        of crime (e.g., property crime, car
Reform Study.                    thefts) may be best indicators of
                                 drops in crimes committed by
According to an INS              aliens.
analysis, property and violent
crime rates dropped
between 1994 and 1995 in
San Diego.
                                                                                                                           (continued)




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Appendix V
Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
the Southwest Border




                                                             Predicted outcome if AG’s
Indicator                       Source of data               strategy is successful
Use of public services in U.S. State and local sources.      A decrease in public service
border cities.                                               usage in border cities.
                               Hospitals, local school
                               districts, local welfare
                               departments.


Deaths of aliens attempting     County death records.        Depends on how
entry.                                                       enforcement resources are
                                Death records in Mexico.     allocated. In some cases,
                                                             deaths may be reduced or
                                University of Houston        prevented (by fencing along
                                Center for Immigration       highways, for example). In
                                Research reports (1996,      other cases, deaths may
                                1997).                       increase (as enforcement in
                                                             urban areas forces aliens to
                                                             attempt mountain or desert
                                                             crossings) .
Assaults against INS agents.    INS statistics.              A higher incidence of
                                                             violence against INS agents
                                                             as crossing efforts of illegal
                                                             aliens are frustrated.




Abuses of aliens by INS         DOJ.                         May vary, depending on type
officers.                                                    of enforcement effort.
                                Advocacy groups.




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                                               Appendix V
                                               Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
                                               of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
                                               the Southwest Border




                                                                       Is indicator currently being        Are there plans to measure
Findings                         Limitations                           measured?                           indicator on ongoing basis?
Commission on Immigration Need to control for long-term                Not clear how systematically data Unknown
Reform found some             trends in these indicators, using        are collected across the
reductions in public service  time-series analyses.                    southwest border.
usage in the first few months
after implementation of
Operation Hold-the-Line in El
Paso.
Center for Immigration           Can be difficult to identify if       Data not collected on systematic    Unknown
Research Study (1997) found      deceased is an undocumented           basis along southwest border.
no overall increase in the       migrant.
number of deaths of illegal
aliens, but found increasing     Problems of undercount—some
number of deaths from            proportion of deaths in remote
environmental exposure           areas will go undiscovered.
(falls, hypothermia,
dehydration).


Assaults on Border Patrol        Violence may increase if INS is       Yes                                 Yes
agents up 40% from fiscal        able to frustrate drug traffickers.
year 1994 to fiscal year 1996.   But drug trafficking may be only
Numbers vary considerably        somewhat related to alien
across sectors.                  smuggling. Frustrating drug
                                 traffickers does not necessarily
                                 imply success in deterring illegal
                                 alien traffic.
U.S. Commission on            Potential for underreporting of          Yes                                 Yes
Immigration Reform found      abuse incidents by victims.
reductions in complaints
against Border Patrol agents
after implementation of
Operation Hold-the-Line in El
Paso (1994).

Human rights organizations
have complained about
higher abuse rates in other
sectors.
                                                                                                                               (continued)




                                               Page 85                                                    GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix V
Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
the Southwest Border




                                                                Predicted outcome if AG’s
Indicator                       Source of data                  strategy is successful
B. Flow to Southwest border (deterrence)
Probability of taking a first   MMP surveys of migrant          Decreasing probability of
illegal trip to the U.S.        communities in Mexico.          first-timers migrating without
                                                                documents.
Probability of taking           Results of focus groups
additional illegal trips.       conducted in Mexico             Decreasing probability that
                                (Binational Study on            experienced migrants will
                                Migration).                     take additional trips.




Trends in applications for      INS.                            An increase in applications
temporary visas and                                             for border-crossing cards
border-crossing cards.          U.S. Department of State.       and nonimmigrant visas.




Departures and arrivals at      Where available from            Roughly equal number of
airports in Mexican cities      Border Patrol officials in      departures and arrivals in
along the Southwest border.     each sector.                    border areas where Border
                                                                Patrol has successfully
                                                                deterred entry (more arrivals
                                                                than departures in areas
                                                                where the border has not yet
                                                                been secured).

Changes in traffic through      Mexican intelligence            Reduced traffic of aliens from
Mexico of illegal aliens from   sources.                        other countries through
countries other than Mexico.                                    Mexico or longer durations of
                                INS                             stays in Mexico by these
                                Intelligence information        aliens.




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                                              Appendix V
                                              Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
                                              of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
                                              the Southwest Border




                                                                     Is indicator currently being    Are there plans to measure
Findings                        Limitations                          measured?                       indicator on ongoing basis?


Some published research         The probability of taking first or   Yes                             Yes
shows probability of            additional trip is influenced by a
migration is not strongly       number of factors besides INS
correlated with INS             efforts at the border, including
enforcement efforts. INS        economic conditions in Mexico
enforcement may make            and the U.S., social networks in
migrants already in the         U.S., and availability of legal
migration stream more likely    modes of entry.
to take trips to the U.S., to
recoup losses from earlier      MMP Data are not representative
apprehensions.                  of the immigrant population in the
                                U.S. and may underrepresent
                                new sending areas in southern
                                Mexico. Retrospective survey
                                design. Data only collected
                                annually.


Not determined.                 Application rates may simply be      Yes                             Yes
                                indicators of greater economic
                                difficulties in Mexico and other
                                sending countries, rather than
                                indicators of deterrence of
                                migrants from attempting illegal
                                modes of entry.

                                The 1996 Act mandates that
                                border-crossing cards be
                                replaced by biometric
                                border-crossing cards within 3
                                years. This may make trends
                                difficult to interpret.
Not determined.                 Data are not consistently            Not determined.                 Unknown
                                available.

                                Data do not distinguish between
                                trips made to Northern Mexico in
                                order to cross border with trips
                                made in order to work (in
                                maquiladora industries, for
                                example) or settle.
Not determined.                 Depends on reliability and           Not determined.                 Unknown
                                generalizability of intelligence
                                information.


                                                                                                                         (continued)




                                              Page 87                                               GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix V
Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
the Southwest Border




                                                                Predicted outcome if AG’s
Indicator                         Source of data                strategy is successful
C. Number of undocumented aliens in the U.S.
Estimates of the stock of         Published analyses based An eventual reduction in the
illegal residents in the United   on INS and Census        overall stock of illegal
States.                           Bureau data.             residents in the U.S.




Number of undocumented            Published MMP analyses.       A decreased flow of illegal
sojourners                                                      sojourners to the U.S.
                                  COLEF Survey of
                                  Migration to the Northern
                                  Border.




Estimates of overstays of         INS analyses;                 An increase in the number of
legal visas.                      Nonimmigrant Overstay         aliens, specifically Mexican
                                  Method (matches record        nationals, who try to enter
                                  of arrival forms with         legally and overstay, in an
                                  departure forms).             effort to get around border
                                                                enforcement.
                                  By fiscal year 1999, INS is
                                  required to have in place
                                  a system to track all
                                  entries and exits from the
                                  U.S.
Labor supply and wages in         National Agricultural         A labor shortage or higher
sectors of the economy            Workers Survey (NAWS).        wages in an industry that has
where illegal aliens tend to                                    traditionally hired
work.                                                           undocumented workers.




Number of undocumented            INS.                          A decrease in the number of
aliens found in INS employer                                    undocumented workers who
inspections.                                                    are recent arrivals to the U.S.
                                                                found in INS employer
                                                                inspections.



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                                             Appendix V
                                             Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
                                             of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
                                             the Southwest Border




                                                                        Is indicator currently being        Are there plans to measure
Findings                       Limitations                              measured?                           indicator on ongoing basis?


INS estimated 5 million illegal Current surveys generally               Yes, periodically.                  Unknown
residents in 1996, up from      measure only long-term residents
3.9 million in 1992.            (those who have been in the U.S.
                                for at least 1 year).

                               Estimates differ based on
                               assumptions made about
                               undercount and the emigration of
                               illegal residents.

                               Difficult to determine the specific
                               causes of changes in the stock
                               (e.g., better border enforcement,
                               better worksite enforcement,
                               shrinking potential migrant
                               populations, etc.).
Unclear. COLEF data            Unrepresentativeness of samples. Yes                                         Yes
suggest that inflow and
return flow of both            Successful deterrence may have
documented and                 perverse results—with aliens
undocumented migrants          spending longer time in the U.S.
might have decreased in        on any one illegal visit. Fewer
recent years, but analyses     border crossings, but an overall
do not distinguish between     increase in illegal aliens in the U.S.
the two groups.
According to INS, about 40     GAO has reported on some                 INS has not had capability to       Unknown
percent of undocumented        problems in estimating visa              produce reliable estimates since
immigrants in the U.S. enter   overstays; estimates are likely to       1992.
with a nonimmigrant visa.      be more accurate for those who
                               enter and leave by air.




The proportion of illegal      Growing proportions in agriculture Yes                                       Yes
aliens in agriculture has      may reflect replacement of
increased between 1988 and     special agricutural workers
1995.                          legalized after passage of the
                               Immigration Reform and Control
                               Act.

                               NAWS data are not generalizable
                               to sectors other than agriculture.
Not determined.                The number of undocumented               Yes                                 Yes
                               workers discovered is also a
                               function of the amount of
                               emphasis by INS on worksite
                               enforcement.



                                             Page 89                                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix V
Indicators for Measuring the Effectiveness
of the Strategy to Deter Illegal Entry Along
the Southwest Border




Source: GAO analysis.




Page 90                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix VI

Description of Selected Immigration
Research Projects

                    Several ongoing and recently completed research projects have collected
                    data on the flow of undocumented migrants across the border, as well as
                    information on migrants’ background characteristics, labor market
                    experience in country of origin and the United States, and potential
                    migrants’ intentions to take undocumented trips to the United States.


                    The Mexican Migration Project was funded by the National Institute of
The Mexican         Child Health and Human Development to create a comprehensive
Migration Project   binational dataset on Mexican migration to the United States. The project
                    is directed by Jorge Durand of the University of Guadalajara (Mexico), and
                    Douglas S. Massey of the University of Pennsylvania. Two to five Mexican
                    communities were surveyed each year during December and January of
                    successive years using simple random sampling methods. The sample size
                    was generally 200 households unless the community was under 500
                    residents, in which case a smaller number of households were
                    interviewed. If initial fieldwork indicated that U.S. migrants returned home
                    in large numbers during months other than December or January,
                    interviewers returned to the community during those months to gather a
                    portion of the 200 interviews.

                    These representative community surveys yielded information on where
                    migrants went in the United States, and during the months of July and
                    August interviewers traveled to those U.S. destinations to gather
                    nonrandom samples of 10 to 20 out-migrant households from each
                    community. The U.S.-based samples thus contain migrants who have
                    established their households in the United States.

                    The communities were chosen to provide a range of different sizes,
                    regions, ethnic compositions, and economic bases. The sample thus
                    includes isolated rural towns, large farming communities, small cities, and
                    very large metropolitan areas; it covers communities in the states of
                    Guanajuato, Michoacan, Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas, Guerrero, Colima, and
                    San Luis Potosi; and it embraces communities that specialize in mining,
                    fishing, farming, and manufacturing, as well as some that feature very
                    diversified economies.

                    The study’s questionnaire followed the logic of an ethnosurvey, which
                    blends qualitative and quantitative data-gathering techniques. A
                    semi-structured instrument required that identical information be obtained
                    for each person, but question wording and ordering were not fixed. The
                    precise phrasing and timing of each query was left to the judgment of the



                    Page 91                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
            Appendix VI
            Description of Selected Immigration
            Research Projects




            interviewer, depending on circumstances. The design thereby combined
            features of ethnography and standard survey research.

            The ethnosurvey questionnaire proceeded in three phases, with the
            household head serving as the principal respondent for all persons in the
            sample. In the first phase, the interviewer gathered basic social and
            demographic information on the head, spouse, resident and nonresident
            children, and other household members, including age, birthplace, marital
            status, education, and occupation. The interviewer then asked which of
            those enumerated had ever been to the United States. For those
            individuals with migrant experience, the interviewer recorded the total
            number of U.S. trips as well as information about the first and most recent
            U.S. trips, including the year, duration, destination, U.S. occupation, legal
            status, and hourly wage. This exercise was then repeated for first and most
            recent migrations within Mexico.

            The second phase of the ethnosurvey questionnaire compiled a
            year-by-year life history for all household heads, including a childbearing
            history, a property history, a housing history, a business history, and a
            labor history. The third and final phase of the questionnaire gathered
            information about the household head’s experiences on his or her most
            recent trip to the United States, including the mode of border-crossing, the
            kind and number of accompanying relatives, the kind and number of
            relatives already present in the United States, the number of social ties
            that had been formed with U.S. citizens, English language ability, job
            characteristics, and use of U.S. social services.

            Data at the community and municipio (county) levels were also collected,
            using several sources. First, since 1990, interviewers have used a special
            community questionnaire to collect and compile data from various sources
            in each community. Next, data were compiled from the Anuario
            Estadistico of 1993, published in Mexico by INEGI (el Instituto Nacional
            de Economia, Geografia e Informatica). Finally, data were compiled from
            the published volumes of the Mexican censuses for 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960,
            1970, 1980, and 1990. These decennial census data were then interpolated
            for years between the censuses and extrapolated for years after 1990.


Strengths   Strengths include the large number and diversity of households and
            communities represented in the samples and the breadth of information
            collected. The retrospective nature of the survey allows for analysis of
            migration flows over a long period of time. The survey is a representative



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                    Appendix VI
                    Description of Selected Immigration
                    Research Projects




                    sample of communities in states in Western Mexico that have been the
                    traditional sending areas of Mexico; it captures both migrants that are
                    living in the United States as well as persons who have been in the United
                    States but live in Mexico.


Limitations         One limitation is the representativeness of the sample. The Mexican
                    sample underrepresents those states in Mexico that have only recently
                    become sources of U.S. migration, including states in southern Mexico and
                    states bordering the United States. The U.S. subsample may undersample
                    people with little connection to their community of origin, or those who
                    have moved to nontraditional locations in the United States. In addition,
                    information on other household members collected from the head of the
                    household may be inaccurate, and retrospective data on migration
                    experience may be biased in that respondents may attribute events that
                    occurred to the incorrect time period or recall more recent events more
                    accurately than past events.


                    Since September 1987, the ongoing Zapata Canyon Project has conducted
The Zapata Canyon   personal interviews with randomly selected undocumented immigrants
Project             preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States.
                    Interviews are conducted 3 days per week—usually weekends—at
                    habitual crossing points of undocumented immigrants in the Mexican
                    border cities of Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and
                    Matamoros. The survey employs a short, standardized questionnaire
                    specifically designed not to take too much time from someone who is in
                    the process of entering the United States illegally. The project is directed
                    by Jorge Bustamante of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF), in
                    collaboration with Jorge Santibanez and Rodolfo Corona.

                    The surveys include information on the demographic characteristics of
                    migrants, prior labor experience in Mexico and the United States, location
                    of border crossing, cost of the trip to the border, whether a smuggler was
                    used for crossing, how many times migrants were apprehended by the INS,
                    and reasons for making the trip.


Strengths           The survey provides extensive time series information on illegal border
                    crossing and can be used for examining changes in sociodemographic
                    characteristics of border crossers.




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                         Appendix VI
                         Description of Selected Immigration
                         Research Projects




Limitations              The Zapata Canyon data may not come from a representative sample of
                         undocumented migrants. Thus, it is not possible to estimate the volume of
                         the undocumented flow from Mexico. The survey does not focus on the
                         extent of return migration from the United States to Mexico. A limited
                         number of questions can be asked of migrants who are in a hurry to make
                         a clandestine crossing into the United States.


                         This survey, also known as EMIF (Encuesta sobre Migracion en la
Survey of Migration to   Frontera Norte de Mexico), was funded by the World Bank through the
the Northern Border      Mexican Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of the Interior’s National
                         Council for Population. A team of researchers from El Colegio de la
                         Frontera Norte, directed by Jorge Bustamante, designed and administered
                         the survey. The survey was designed to produce direct estimates of the
                         volume of documented and undocumented migration flows from Mexico
                         to the United States as well as return migration from the United States to
                         Mexico.

                         The survey methodology derives from the theoretical concept of circular
                         migration and is based on an adaptation of what biological statisticians
                         call the “sampling of mobile populations.” The team identified the
                         “migratory routes” through which circular migration occurred and defined
                         empirical points of observation where migration could be viewed,
                         including bus stations, airports, railroad stations, and customs and
                         immigration inspection places along highways. In these places, systematic
                         counts of the number of migrants were made over specific periods of time.
                         The survey was conducted continuously from March 28, 1993, to March 27,
                         1994; from December 14, 1994, to December 13, 1995; and from July 14,
                         1996, to July 13, 1997.

                         The survey sampled four groups of migrants: (1) illegal migrants
                         voluntarily deported from the United States by the INS; (2) illegal and legal
                         migrants preparing to cross the border from Mexico to the United States;
                         (3) Mexican nationals who were permanent residents of the United States
                         and were returning to Mexico; and (4) permanent residents of Mexico who
                         have been in the United States legally or illegally and were returning to
                         Mexico.

                         The survey includes questions on the demographic characteristics of
                         migrants, prior labor experience in Mexico and the United States, prior
                         legal and illegal border crossing experience (including number of previous
                         crossings, whether documents were used to cross, number of times



                         Page 94                                         GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
                      Appendix VI
                      Description of Selected Immigration
                      Research Projects




                      apprehended by INS, location of border crossings, whether smugglers were
                      used for crossing, and how much was paid to them), and reasons for
                      making the current trip.


Strengths             The survey provides information on legal and illegal flow in both
                      directions—from Mexico to the United States, and from the United States
                      to Mexico.


Limitations           The survey focuses only on labor migrants; nonlabor migrants are not
                      interviewed. Data collection has recently been completed; however, the
                      study directors have applied for additional funding to continue the survey.


                      After a meeting of the Migration and Consular Affairs Group of the
The United            Mexican-United States Binational Commission in March 1995, the
States-Mexico         governments of Mexico and the United States decided to undertake a joint
Binational Study on   study of migration between the two countries. The Binational Study was
                      funded by both the United States and Mexican governments in conjunction
Migration             with private sector funding in both countries. The main objective of the
                      Binational Study was to contribute to a better understanding and
                      appreciation of the nature, dimensions, and consequences of migration
                      from Mexico to the United States. National coordinators were designated
                      for each country, with the Commission on Immigration Reform
                      coordinating the work of U.S. researchers. The Binational Study was
                      released on September 2, 1997.

                      The research was conducted by a team of 20 independent researchers, 10
                      from each country, who reviewed existing research, generated new data
                      and analyses, and undertook site visits and consulted with migrants and
                      local residents to gain a joint understanding of the issues raised in this
                      study. The researchers participated in five teams studying different
                      aspects of migration, including (1) the size of the legal and illegal
                      Mexican-born population in the United States, and the size of the
                      migration streams crossing the border; (2) demographic, educational, and
                      income characteristics of Mexican-born migrants; (3) factors influencing
                      migration from Mexico; (4) economic and social effects of migration on
                      both the United States and Mexico; and (5) societal responses to migration
                      in both the United States and Mexico, including legislation and policy
                      responses, court decisions, advocacy from the private sector, and public
                      opinion.



                      Page 95                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
              Appendix VI
              Description of Selected Immigration
              Research Projects




Strengths     The study analyzed a broad number of issues relating to illegal and legal
              immigration. Its use of a combination of data from both the United States
              and Mexico enhanced understanding of Mexican migration and its impacts
              on both countries. The study made a number of specific recommendations
              for needed research.


Limitations   Data limitations often constrained the study teams’ abilities to draw firm
              conclusions on many issues. Data collection and analysis has been
              completed, and there are no mechanisms in place for follow-up.




              Page 96                                        GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Appendix VII

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Evi L. Rezmovic, Assistant Director, Administration of Justice Issues
General Government      Barry J. Seltser, Assistant Director, Technical/Methodological
Division, Washington,     Assistance Group
D.C.                    Barbara A. Stolz, Senior Evaluator
                        Katherine M. Wheeler, Publishing Advisor


                        Ann H. Finley, Senior Attorney
Office of the General
Counsel, Washington,
D.C.
                        Michael P. Dino, Evaluator-In-Charge
Los Angeles Field       Tom Jessor, Senior Evaluator
Office                  Nancy K. Kawahara, Senior Evaluator
                        James C. Geibel, Evaluator




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Page 102       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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Page 103       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
Related GAO Products


              Border Patrol: Staffing and Enforcement Activities (GAO/GGD-96-65, Mar. 11,
              1996).

              Illegal Immigration: INS Overstay Estimation Methods Need Improvement
              (GAO/PEMD-95-20, Sept. 26, 1995).

              Border Control: Revised Strategy Is Showing Some Positive Results
              (GAO/T-GGD-95-92, Mar. 10, 1995).

              Border Control: Revised Strategy Is Showing Some Positive Results
              (GAO/GGD-95-30, Dec. 29, 1994).

              Border Management: Dual Management Structure at Entry Ports Should
              End (GAO/T-GGD-94-34, Dec. 10, 1993).

              Illegal Aliens: Despite Data Limitations, Current Methods Provide Better
              Population Estimates (GAO/PEMD-93-25, Aug. 5, 1993).

              Customs Service and INS: Dual Management Structure for Border
              Inspections Should Be Ended (GAO/GGD-93-111, June 30, 1993).

              Border Patrol: Southwest Border Enforcement Affected by Mission
              Expansion and Budget (GAO/T-GGD-92-66, Aug. 5, 1992).

              Border Patrol: Southwest Border Enforcement Affected by Mission
              Expansion and Budget (GAO/GGD-91-72BR, Mar. 28, 1991).




(183609)      Page 104                                       GAO/GGD-98-21 Illegal Immigation
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