oversight

Illegal Immigration: Status of Southwest Border Strategy Implementation

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-05-19.

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

                United States General Accounting Office

GAO             Report to Congressional Committees




May 1999
                ILLEGAL
                IMMIGRATION
                Status of Southwest
                Border Strategy
                Implementation




GAO/GGD-99-44
GAO   United States General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548
      General Government Division




      B-281961

      May 19, 1999

      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 is a long-standing problem, and it has been exacerbated
      by the pull of the strong domestic economy, economic and/or political
      turmoil in the developing world, and recent natural disasters in Central
      America. To address this continuing problem, the Attorney General in
      1994 announced a broad, five-part strategy to strengthen the nation’s
      immigration laws including, among other things, strengthening border
      enforcement. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
      Responsibility Act of 1996 (1996 Act) requires us to track, monitor, and
      evaluate the Attorney General’s strategy and to report our findings to
                                                        1
      Congress annually for 6 years. Our first report discussed the Immigration
      and Naturalization Service’s (INS) progress toward implementing the
      Attorney General’s strategy for reducing and deterring illegal entry along
                                                      2
      the southwest border. This, our third report, provides additional
      information on the key issues raised in our first report. Specifically, this
      report addresses (1) INS’ progress in implementing the southwest border
      strategy during fiscal year 1998, (2) interim results of the strategy, and (3)
      actions taken on our recommendation that the Attorney General develop
      and implement a plan for a formal, cost-effective, comprehensive, and
      systematic evaluation of the strategy.

      1
       Illegal Immigration: Southwest Border Strategy Results Inconclusive; More Evaluation Needed
      (GAO/GGD-98-21, Dec. 11, 1997).
      2
       Our second report, Illegal Aliens: Significant Obstacles to Reducing Unauthorized Alien Employment
      Exist (GAO/GGD-99-33, April 2, 1999), focused on the strategy’s objective to enforce workplace
      immigration laws.



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                   INS is continuing to implement its southwest border strategy. Although
Results in Brief   some of the expected interim results continue to occur, available data do
                   not yet answer the fundamental question of how effective the strategy has
                   been in preventing and deterring illegal entry.

                   In fiscal year 1998, INS' Border Patrol transitioned into the second phase
                   of its four-phased approach, which called for increasing Border Patrol
                   agents and resources to sectors in Arizona and South Texas. Consistent
                   with this planned approach, INS allocated 740 of 1,000 new agent positions
                   authorized in fiscal year 1998 to sectors in these locations. INS also added
                   18 miles of fencing in California and Arizona, increased both the
                   proportion and total amount of time Border Patrol agents at the southwest
                   border spent collectively on border enforcement, and deployed additional
                   technologies such as remote video surveillance cameras. In addition, in
                   January 1999, INS was testing a resource and effectiveness model to help it
                   determine the right mix of staffing, equipment, and technology for all of its
                   Border Patrol sectors.

                   To complement the Border Patrol's efforts between ports of entry, INS
                   Inspections added 179 inspectors to southwest land-border ports of entry
                   in fiscal year 1998 and undertook training and enforcement efforts in
                   conjunction with other agencies located at these ports. INS also began
                   testing an inspections program designed to measure how well it conducted
                   inspections of travelers.

                   Although evaluative data on the overall impact of the strategy continue to
                   be limited, available data suggested that several anticipated interim effects
                   of the strategy have occurred. For example, apprehensions of illegal aliens
                   continued to shift from traditionally high entry points like San Diego and
                   El Paso to other locations along the border, as resources were deployed.
                   Also, southwest border ports of entry inspectors apprehended an
                   increased number of persons attempting fraudulent entry and there were
                   reports of higher fees being charged by smugglers, which INS said
                   indicated an increased difficulty in illegal border crossing. However, data
                   were not available on whether the other expected results--a decrease in
                   attempted reentries by illegal aliens who previously have been
                   apprehended and a reduction in border area crime--had occurred.

                   Available information on the interim results of the strategy does not
                   provide answers to the most fundamental questions surrounding INS’
                   enforcement efforts along the southwest border. That is, given the billions
                   of dollars that INS has invested in implementing the strategy, how effective
                   has the strategy been in preventing and deterring aliens from illegally


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               crossing the border? Pursuant to our 1997 report recommendation to
               conduct a comprehensive evaluation, INS contracted with private research
               firms in September 1998 for evaluative studies. As of April 1999, according
               to INS, one contractor was working on an evaluation design and analysis
               plan. INS could provide us with no other information on the contractor’s
               progress. Consequently, we do not know to what extent the contractor’s
               evaluation plan will provide the information needed to determine the
               extent to which the Attorney General's strategy has been effective.

               In February 1994, the Attorney General and INS Commissioner announced
Background     a five-part strategy to strengthen enforcement of the nation’s immigration
               laws. The strategy’s first priority was to strengthen enforcement along the
               southwest border. The strategy to strengthen the border called for
               “prevention through deterrence,” that is, raising the risk of apprehension
               for illegal aliens to “make it so difficult and so costly to enter this country
                                                            3
               illegally that fewer individuals even try.” The objectives of the strategy
               were to close off the routes most frequently used by smugglers and illegal
               aliens (generally through urban areas) and shift traffic through the ports of
               entry that inspect travelers or over areas that were more remote and
               difficult to cross. With the traditional routes disrupted, INS expected that
               illegal alien traffic would either be deterred or forced over terrain less
               suited for crossing, where INS believed it would have the tactical
               advantage.

               To carry out the strategy, the Border Patrol was to

             • concentrate personnel and resources in a four-phased approach starting
                                                                                                         4


               with the areas of highest illegal alien activity,
             • increase the time Border Patrol agents spend on border-control activities,
             • make maximum use of physical barriers, and
             • identify the appropriate quantity and mix of technology and personnel
               needed to control the border.

               To complement the Border Patrol’s efforts, the strategy called for INS
               Inspections to enhance efforts to deter illegal entry at the ports of entry
               and increase the use of technology to improve management of legal traffic
               and commerce.


               3
                Building A Comprehensive Southwest Border Enforcement Strategy (Washington, D.C.: Immigration
               and Naturalization Service, June 1996), p. 3.
               4
                Phases I, II, and III pertain to Border Patrol sectors on the southwest border; phase IV pertains to all
               other Border Patrol sectors.



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              INS’ Border Patrol and Inspections are the two components chiefly
              responsible for deterring illegal entry along the southwest border. These
              two components represented 28 percent of INS’ total budget of $3.8 billion
              in fiscal year 1998. INS also provides support for the strategy by allocating
              funds to other INS programs for computer automation, technology
              procurement, construction of facilities and barriers, and detention and
              removal of illegal aliens.

              INS’ Border Patrol is responsible for preventing and detecting illegal entry
              along the border between the nation’s ports of entry. The Border Patrol is
              divided into 21 sectors, 9 of which are along the southwest border. The
              Border Patrol’s budget for fiscal year 1998 was $877 million, a 20-percent
              increase over its fiscal year 1997 budget of $730 million. As of September
              1998, there were about 8,000 Border Patrol agents nationwide. About
              7,400, or 93 percent, were located in the 9 sectors along the southwest
              border. (App. I contains detailed staffing and selected workload data for
              the Border Patrol.)
                                                                            5
              INS Inspections and the U.S. Customs Service share responsibility for
              inspecting all applicants seeking admission at U.S. ports of entry. Among
              other things, these inspections are to prevent the entry of inadmissible
              applicants by detecting fraudulent documents, including those
              representing false claims to U.S. citizenship or permanent residence status.
              INS’ Inspections fiscal year 1998 budget for land-border inspections was
              about $171 million, a 12-percent increase over its fiscal year 1997 budget of
              about $152 million. As of September 30, 1998, Inspections had about 2,000
              inspectors at land ports of entry nationwide, of which about 1,500 were
              located at the southwest border land ports of entry. In fiscal year 1998,
              INS and Customs inspectors along the southwest border inspected about
              303 million people, including 213 million--or 70 percent--who were aliens,
              and 90 million--or 30 percent--who were U.S. citizens. (App. I contains
              detailed staffing and selected workload data for INS Inspections.)

              To determine the progress made in implementing the strategy during fiscal
Scope and     year 1998, we (1) analyzed INS staff allocations to determine if they were
Methodology   consistent with its strategy, (2) reviewed INS performance reviews of its
              fiscal year 1998 Priorities and Performance Management Plan, (3) analyzed
              INS’ budget and Border Patrol and Inspections workload data, and (4)
              interviewed INS Border Patrol and Inspections headquarters officials.

              5
               INS and Customs 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. land ports of entry.



              Page 4                                               GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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                     Also, we reviewed a study commissioned by the Office of National Drug
                     Control Policy (ONDCP), which estimated the number of Border Patrol
                     agents needed to control the southwest border. In addition, we reviewed a
                     Department of Justice Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report on INS’
                     implementation of its automated biometrics identification system (IDENT)
                     along the southwest border.

                     To determine the strategy’s interim effects, we analyzed INS data on
                     apprehensions made along the southwest border and the number of
                     persons apprehended while attempting to enter the United States illegally
                     at the southwest border land ports of entry. We also reviewed sections
                     from INS’ performance reviews of its fiscal year 1998 Priorities and
                     Performance Management Plan that reported on the strategy’s interim
                     effects.

                     To determine what actions have been taken to implement our
                     recommendation that INS develop and implement a comprehensive
                     evaluation of the strategy, we obtained written comments on INS’
                     evaluation plans from INS’ Executive Associate Commissioner for Policy
                     and Planning; and we discussed the comments with an official from INS’
                     Office of Policy and Planning.

                     We did not independently verify the validity of INS computer-generated
                                                                                                6
                     workload or apprehensions data. However, as we did for our first report,
                     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 conducted our work between August 1998 and February 1999 in
                     accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We
                     requested written comments on a draft of this report from the Attorney
                     General. The Attorney General did not provide comments but instead
                     requested INS to respond to our request. INS’ oral comments are
                     discussed on page 28.

                     During fiscal year 1998, INS continued to make progress toward
INS Continued to     implementing the Attorney General’s strategy. As called for in the strategy,
Implement the        INS allocated its new Border Patrol agent positions according to its four-
Attorney General’s   phased approach and increased the amount of time agents spent on border
                     enforcement activities. INS constructed additional fencing along the
Strategy             southwest border and continued to deploy technologies such as night
                     6
                         GAO/GGD-98-21, p. 10.



                     Page 5                                  GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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                        vision devices and remote video surveillance systems. Further, INS was
                        testing a computer model designed to determine the appropriate mix of
                        staffing, equipment, and technology in Border Patrol sectors.

New Agents Allocated    During fiscal year 1998, INS completed phase I of its strategy, which called
                        for concentrating resources in the San Diego, CA, and El Paso, TX, sectors,
According to Strategy   and transitioned to phase II, which called for increasing resources in the
                        Tucson, AZ, sector and three sectors in south Texas—Del Rio, Laredo, and
                        McAllen, according to INS officials. Consistent with the strategy, INS
                        allocated 740 (74 percent) of the additional 1,000 Border Patrol agent
                        positions authorized in fiscal year 1998 to phase II sectors in Arizona and
                        Texas.

                        The strategy was designed to allow for flexibility in responding to
                        unexpected changes in the illegal immigration flow. To address an
                        increase in the number of apprehensions of illegal aliens in the El Centro,
                        CA; Yuma, AZ; and Marfa, TX, sectors, INS allocated 215 agents authorized
                        in fiscal year 1998 to these sectors, even though these sectors were not
                        originally scheduled to receive resources until phase III of the strategy.

                        As a result of these and previous staff increases, the number of agents
                        along the southwest border increased from 3,389 as of October 1993 to
                        6,315 as of September 1997 to 7,357 as of September 1998, an increase of
                        117 percent between October 1993 and September 1998. Figures 1, 2, and
                        3 show the increase in the number of agents in sectors along the southwest
                        border during this period.




                        Page 6                                 GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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Figure 1: Number of On-Board Border
Patrol Agents Increased in Phase I
Sectors Between October 1993 and
September 1998




                                      Source: INS.




                                      Page 7         GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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Figure 2: Number of On-Board Border
Patrol Agents Increased in Phase II
Sectors Between October 1993 and
September 1998




                                      Source: INS.




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Figure 3: Number of On-Board Border
Patrol Agents Increased in Phase III
Sectors Between October 1993 and
September 1998




                                       Source: INS.


                                       To accommodate the increased number of Border Patrol staff, INS
                                       budgeted almost $29 million in fiscal year 1998 for the expansion and
                                       replacement of older Border Patrol facilities. INS’ hiring of Border Patrol
                                       agents is slowing, despite congressional direction that INS continue hiring
                                       and a study that estimated that the Border Patrol may need substantially
                                                                                                7
                                       more agents along the southwest border. The 1996 Act states that the
                                       Border Patrol shall hire 1,000 agents each year for fiscal years 1997
                                       through 2001. In addition, a study commissioned by ONDCP estimated
                                       that the Border Patrol would need about 16,100 agents in the 9 southwest
                                                                                                     8
                                       border sectors to control and deter unauthorized crossings. This number
                                       7
                                           P.L. 104-208, sec.101.
                                       8
                                        F. Bean, R. Capps, and C.W. Haynes, An Estimate of the Number of Border Patrol Personnel
                                       Necessary to Control the Southwest Border (Austin, TX: Center for U.S.-Mexico Border and Migration
                                       Research, University of Texas), July 1998.



                                       Page 9                                             GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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                           is more than twice the 7,357 agents on board along the southwest border
                           as of September 1998.

                           INS does not expect to meet Congress’ requirement that it hire 1,000
                           Border Patrol agents each year. INS brought on board 449 new Border
                           Patrol agents between the end of September 1998 and the middle of March
                           1999. However, INS lost 377 agents during the same time period, resulting
                           in a net gain of 72 agents. An INS headquarters official said that INS
                           expects to fall short of its fiscal year 1999 Border Patrol agent hiring goal
                           by 600 to 800 agents. In addition, the administration’s fiscal year 2000
                           budget does not request any additional Border Patrol agent positions. In
                                                                          9
                           March 1999, the INS Commissioner testified that nearly 48 percent of the
                           Border Patrol agents had less than 3 years of experience, and law
                           enforcement experts had indicated that it is risky to allow an agency’s
                           overall ratio of inexperienced to experienced officers to exceed 30
                           percent. Also, according to an INS official, INS lacks adequate facilities to
                           support the increased number of agents along the southwest border.
                           Therefore, according to INS, maintaining staffing at the fiscal year 1999
                           level will give INS time to develop more experienced agents and allow INS
                           to allocate the funds it needs to improve facilities.

Amount of Time Spent on    The strategy also called for the Border Patrol to increase the amount of
                           time agents spend on border enforcement activities, as opposed to
Border Enforcement         program support activities--such as processing aliens who have been
Activities Has Increased   apprehended—supervision, and training. During fiscal year 1998, agents in
                           the nine sectors along the southwest border collectively spent 66 percent
                           of their total time on border enforcement activities, 6 percent more than
                           the 60 percent spent in fiscal year 1997.

                           Due to the increase in the number of on-board agents, INS also has
                           increased the total amount of time agents spend on border enforcement
                           activities. The fiscal year 1998 Priorities Implementation Plan set a goal
                           that 8.1 million hours nationwide should be devoted to border enforcement
                                      10
                           activities. According to INS data, the Border Patrol spent about 9 million
                           hours on border enforcement in fiscal year 1998, exceeding its goal by
                           about 11 percent and representing a 32 percent increase over the 6.8
                           million hours spent on border enforcement in fiscal year 1997.

                           9
                            Testimony of Commissioner Doris Meissner, Immigration and Naturalization Service Concerning the
                           President’s FY 2000 Budget Request before the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on
                           Commerce, State, and the Judiciary, United States Senate, March 16, 1999.
                           10
                            Border enforcement operations include activities such as, patrolling the immediate border areas,
                           examining vehicles at traffic checkpoints, and boat and air patrol.



                           Page 10                                              GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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New Barriers and            The strategy called for “maximum utilization of lighting, fencing, and other
                                                                                 11
                            barriers” to deter illegal entry. In our 1997 report, we stated that as of
Technology Deployed Along   July 1997, INS had about 46 miles of fencing in place and another 23 miles
the Border                  under construction. A Border Patrol official told us that between August
                            1997 and September 1998, INS constructed about 18 miles of fencing in the
                                                                     12
                            Yuma, Tucson, and San Diego sectors. INS also built barriers between
                            the ports of entry to prevent vehicles from driving across the border
                            illegally.

                            It is not clear how much additional fencing and other barriers INS plans to
                            build. The House report accompanying INS’ fiscal year 1999
                                             13
                            appropriations required INS to prepare a report by November 15, 1998, on
                            its plans for road and fencing improvements along the New Mexico border.
                                                                            14
                            INS reported to Congress on February 12, 1999, that it is developing initial
                            assessments of border fence and road improvements for New Mexico and
                            other border areas for archaeological and other environmental
                            considerations. INS expects to complete these assessments in the summer
                                      15
                            of 1999. According to an INS headquarters official, the final report will
                            include an integrated plan for lighting and technology in urban corridors
                            along the southwest border and will be phased in over a 3 to 5 year period.
                            Two specific border projects are currently scheduled for fiscal year 1999 in
                            New Mexico. Both projects were funded with military engineering support
                                   16
                            funds.

                            With respect to automation and technology, INS received $47 million in
                                                                                        17
                            fiscal year 1998 for increases in these areas at the border. Of these funds,

                            11
                                 GAO/GGD-98-21.
                            12
                             The San Diego sector built 9 miles of fencing (including 3 miles of secondary fencing), Tucson built 5
                            miles, and Yuma built 4 miles.
                            13
                                 H.R. 105-636 at 34 (1998).
                            14
                                 According to an INS official, INS was granted an extension to February l5, 1999.
                            15
                              INS is performing these assessments as part of an update to a Programmatic Environmental Impact
                            Statement done in 1994 for projects along the entire southwest border, in order to comply with the
                            National Environmental Policy Act.
                            16
                              Department of Defense (DOD) engineers provide engineering and construction services to construct
                            roads and fences along U.S. borders as authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
                            Year 1991, sec. 1004. DOD assistance is provided to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,
                            such as the Border Patrol, which may request assistance in controlling the flow of illegal drugs across
                            the southwest border.
                            17
                              The House report accompanying INS’ fiscal year 1999 appropriations required INS to develop and
                            submit a plan by December 1, 1998, on its long-term modernization plan “for the development, testing,
                            and deployment of all current technologies, as well as any other additional technologies that the INS is
                            pursuing.” The report also directed “that this plan address INS’s plans to train Border Patrol agents in



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                                                                                     18                      19
                            INS spent $16.2 million to expand IDENT and ENFORCE, systems
                            designed to track and identify illegal crossers and criminal aliens, $7.5
                            million to purchase 26 remote video surveillance systems, $3 million to
                            upgrade its integrated sensor and mapping system, and $1 million to
                            purchase additional sensors.

                            INS also used its automation and technology funds for the Border Patrol to
                            initiate, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Geographical
                            Information Systems (GIS) project. The goal of the GIS project is to
                            develop a computerized mapping system for the Border Patrol
                                         20
                            nationwide, adapting technology originally designed for military use. The
                            Border Patrol anticipates that GIS will be used for such purposes as (1)
                            displaying where apprehensions are made, (2) displaying where agents or
                            ground sensors are deployed, (3) analyzing intelligence data, and (4)
                            displaying the terrain agents will be patrolling to help ensure officer safety.
                            The first of three phases of GIS—developing system requirements—began
                            in January 1999 at a cost of $800,000.

INS Is Testing a Model to   To identify the appropriate quantity and mix of personnel, equipment, and
                            technology needed to control the border, in January 1999, INS
Help Identify Appropriate   headquarters was testing a Resource and Effectiveness Model designed to
Resource Mix                measure how changes in resources affect the Border Patrol’s effectiveness
                            in apprehending illegal aliens and seizing narcotics. In fiscal years 1997
                            and 1998, INS spent approximately $1.37 million on contractor costs to
                            develop the computer model, according to a Border Patrol official. At the
                            time of our review, the model was not yet operational in any of the
                            southwest border sectors. The Border Patrol official stated that INS plans
                            to issue another contract to deploy the model to sectors at a cost of
                            $700,000 in fiscal year 1999.



                            the use of these technologies and how current operational doctrine would need to be adjusted to
                            effectively utilize the information gathered with high technology systems” (H.R. 105-36 at 34). INS
                            submitted its report to Congress on February 19, 1999.
                            18
                              IDENT is an automated fingerprinting system that uses a personal computer, camera, and single
                            fingerprint scanner. IDENT captures left and right index fingerprints, photographs, and basic
                            apprehension data for illegal aliens apprehended by INS.
                            19
                              ENFORCE is a computer-based system, which standardizes INS processing forms into one
                            centralized database. ENFORCE is intended to provide the full range of case-tracking information
                            from arrest processing through deportation.
                            20
                             The Del Rio, Laredo, Tucson, and San Diego sectors developed independent mapping applications,
                            and did not use standardized data or formats. The GIS project proposes to use field experiences to
                            develop a standardized nationwide system.



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                         The model uses data such as the number of apprehensions; the amount of
                         technology and equipment--such as lighting, fencing, and barriers--used to
                         deter and detect aliens; and the number of agents. In addition, the model
                         is to include an estimate of the number of aliens who eluded INS
                         apprehension. The model is designed to help identify the appropriate mix
                         of personnel and technology by measuring the impact that any changes in
                         either of these factors would have on the level of effectiveness, with
                         effectiveness defined as the proportion of the estimated number of illegal
                         aliens who had entered the United States and were apprehended.

                         We did not review the model; therefore, we cannot assess how well it is
                         likely to measure the Border Patrol’s effectiveness. However, one of the
                         factors in the model--an estimate of the number of aliens who eluded
                         apprehension--historically has not been amenable to reliable measurement.

Inspections Activities   The strategy postulated that increased enforcement between the ports of
                         entry would cause an increase in port-of-entry activity, including increased
Continued to Support     attempts to enter through fraudulent means. Since March 1997, INS added
Strategy                 179 inspectors to ports along the southwest border to handle this
                         anticipated increased activity, bringing its inspector staffing level to 1,454
                         as of September 1998, just short of the 1,485 inspectors that were
                         authorized. These land ports of entry are under the jurisdiction of five INS
                         district offices located along the southwest border. (See fig. 4 for the
                         number of inspectors in southwest border districts.)




                         Page 13                                  GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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Figure 4: Number of On-Board Inspectors Increased at Land Ports of Entry in INS District Offices Along the Southwest Border
Between September 1994 and September 1998




                                          Source: INS.


                                          According to an INS official, during fiscal year 1997, INS and Customs
                                          officials began discussing the level of staffing necessary to conduct
                                          primary inspections along the southwest border. As of April 1999, no
                                          staffing decisions had been made. Consequently, INS did not request any
                                          additional southwest land-border inspector positions in its fiscal year 1998
                                          and 1999 budgets.

                                          According to INS’ fiscal year 1998 review of its Priorities and Performance
                                          Management Plan, at land-border crossings, INS Inspections has
                                          concentrated on increasing the use of technology to facilitate the entry of


                                          Page 14                                    GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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legal traffic into the United States. One such effort has been the
construction of dedicated commuter lanes that use technology to
automatically identify vehicles and validate the identity of occupants who
                                       21
have passed a preclearance process. The goal of the dedicated commuter
lanes is to reduce the time it takes to complete an inspection at ports of
entry by segregating high frequency, low-risk, prescreened travelers from
other traffic. Construction delays prevented INS from adding two
dedicated commuter lanes at the San Ysidro, CA, port of entry as originally
planned. INS plans to complete these two lanes and a new lane in El Paso,
                             22
TX, during fiscal year 1999.

To increase enforcement efforts, southwest border ports continued
activities such as using joint enforcement teams to inspect travelers and
conducting multiagency cross-training, according to INS reports.

To improve its effectiveness in deterring illegal entry, in July and August
1998, INS conducted a 2-month test of the Inspections Travelers’
Examinations (INTEX) process. INTEX consists of reinspecting a
randomly selected number of travelers to determine if the primary
                                       23
inspector made the correct decision. The INTEX test included 10 air and
10 land ports of entry. Of the 3,511 travelers inspected during the INTEX
test, 3,452 people, or 98 percent, were correctly admitted into the United
States by the primary inspector. Primary inspectors incorrectly admitted
59 people or about 2 percent. According to an INS official, while the
preliminary INTEX test was satisfactory, the sample was too small for INS
to be able to project the results to the universe of nearly 500 million
inspections INS conducts yearly.

By the end of fiscal year 1999, INS plans to have conducted enough
random inspections to be able to project the results. Contingent on INS’
appropriations, INS plans to expand INTEX to 65 additional ports in fiscal
year 2000, bring the total number of ports using INTEX to 85 ports. INTEX
is to be used to suggest how the inspection process can be improved as
well as help INS comply with the Government Performance and Results


21
  The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers’ Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) program is an interagency
initiative that uses automated technology to process individuals who have been prescreened for the
program. The automated photo identification and card system is designed to allow registered vehicles
and occupants to pass through the port of entry quickly.
22
     A dedicated commuter lane is operational in the Otay Mesa port of entry in the San Diego sector.
23
  A primary inspector can either admit the traveler or refer the traveler to “secondary,” where other
inspectors conduct a more detailed inspection.



Page 15                                                  GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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                                            24
                         Act of 1993, which requires agencies to establish systems for measuring
                         program performance.

                         As the strategy along the southwest border is carried out, the Attorney
Interim Effects of the   General has anticipated the following interim effects: (1) an initial
Strategy                 increase in the number of illegal aliens apprehended in locations receiving
                         an infusion of Border Patrol resources, followed by a decrease in
                         apprehensions; (2) a shift in the flow of illegal alien traffic from sectors
                         that traditionally accounted for most illegal immigration to other sectors;
                         (3) increased attempts by aliens to enter the United States illegally at the
                         ports of entry; (4) increased fees charged by alien smugglers and the use of
                         more sophisticated smuggling tactics; (5) an eventual decrease in
                         attempted reentries by illegal aliens who previously have been
                         apprehended; and (6) reduced violence at the border.

                         Although evaluative data continue to be limited, available data indicated
                         that some of the anticipated effects continued to occur since our last
                         report. INS’ apprehension data indicated a continued shift in illegal alien
                         traffic from traditionally high illegal entry points to other areas as INS
                         resources were deployed according to the planned approach. Such shifts
                         in apprehensions have been associated with a change in the causes and
                         locations of alien deaths along the border, leading INS to initiate a Border
                         Safety Initiative in cooperation with the Mexican government. Inspectors
                         at southwest border ports of entry apprehended an increased number of
                         persons attempting fraudulent entry and, according to an INS report,
                         smugglers in the Tucson sector were charging higher fees.

                         However, data are inconclusive or lacking on certain key aspects of the
                         strategy. For example, INS has not analyzed data on whether the
                         strategy's prediction of an initial increase in apprehensions followed by a
                         decrease, as resources are applied, has occurred in sectors receiving
                         resources in phase II of the strategy. Further, data were unavailable on
                         whether there has been a decrease in attempted reentries made by illegal
                         aliens who previously have been apprehended. In addition, crime data
                         being collected do not appear to be useful for gauging the strategy’s impact
                         on reducing border violence.




                         24
                              P.L. 103-62 (1993).



                         Page 16                                 GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                           B-281961




Changes in Illegal Alien   The strategy anticipated an initial increase in the number of apprehensions
                           of illegal aliens in locations that had received an infusion of Border Patrol
Apprehensions              resources, followed by a decrease in the number of apprehensions when a
                           “decisive level of resources” had been achieved, indicating that illegal
                           aliens were being deterred from entering. INS had not defined the criteria
                           for achieving a “decisive level of resources” in a particular area, so the
                           timing of such changes in apprehension levels remains unclear. In
                           addition, INS had not analyzed apprehension data over time to determine if
                           the predicted pattern of increases followed by decreases had occurred in
                           the phase II sectors that received resources in fiscal year 1998.

                           Figures 5 through 7 present data on apprehensions by Border Patrol sector
                           and strategy phase. It is difficult to determine the meaning of these
                           numbers at this time, because INS is still implementing phase II of the
                           strategy. Apprehension levels in fiscal years 1997 and 1998 in the two
                           phase I sectors (San Diego and El Paso) were considerably lower than they
                           were in fiscal year 1993. (See fig. 5.)




                           Page 17                                 GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                        B-281961




Figure 5: Number of Apprehensions
Decreased in Phase I Border Patrol
Sectors Between Fiscal Years 1993 and
1998




                                        Source: INS.


                                        In two of the phase II sectors (Tucson and Del Rio), apprehension levels
                                        increased in both fiscal years 1997 and 1998. In the other two phase II
                                        sectors (Laredo and McAllen), apprehension levels increased between
                                        fiscal years 1993 and 1997, then decreased in fiscal year 1998. However in
                                        fiscal year 1998, apprehension levels in these two sectors were still higher
                                        than in fiscal year 1993. (See fig. 6.)




                                        Page 18                                 GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                         B-281961




Figure 6: Number of Apprehensions Increased in Phase II Border Patrol Sectors Between Fiscal Years 1993 and 1998




                                         Source: INS.


                                         In two of the three phase III sectors (El Centro and Yuma), apprehension
                                         levels increased in both fiscal years 1997 and 1998, as compared with fiscal
                                         year 1993, whereas in Marfa apprehension levels have remained relatively
                                         constant during these 3 years. (See fig. 7.)




                                         Page 19                                    GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                       B-281961




Figure 7: Number of Apprehensions
Increased in Two of Three Phase III
Border Patrol Sectors Between Fiscal
Years 1993 and 1998




                                       Source: INS.




Shift in Illegal Alien                 The strategy also anticipated a shift in the flow of illegal alien traffic from
                                       sectors that had traditionally accounted for most illegal immigration
Apprehensions                          activity to other sectors as well as shifts within sectors from urban areas,
                                       where the enforcement posture is greater, to rural areas. Our analysis of
                                       INS apprehension data indicated, since our previous report, that such a
                                       shift continued to occur. We found that apprehensions in San Diego and
                                       El Paso—sectors that had traditionally accounted for the most illegal alien
                                       traffic—decreased 9 percent, from 408,265 apprehensions in fiscal year
                                       1997 to 373,127 apprehensions in fiscal year 1998. As a percentage of all
                                       southwest border apprehensions, apprehensions in El Paso and San Diego
                                       decreased from 68 percent in fiscal year 1993 to 30 percent in fiscal year
                                       1997 to 24 percent in fiscal year 1998. (See fig. 8.)




                                       Page 20                                  GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                        B-281961




Figure 8: Percentage of Southwest
Border Apprehensions Decreased in
San Diego and El Paso Border Patrol
Sectors Between Fiscal Years 1993 and
1998




                                        a
                                            Other sectors include El Centro, Yuma, Tuscon, Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo, and McAllen.
                                        Source: GAO analysis of INS data.


                                        The percentage of southwest border apprehensions increased significantly
                                        in some sectors. For example, the Tucson sector’s percentage of all
                                        southwest border apprehensions increased from 8 percent in fiscal year
                                        1993 to 26 percent in fiscal year 1998. Similarly, the percentage in the El
                                        Centro sector, east of San Diego, increased from 2 percent of all southwest
                                        border apprehensions to 15 percent over the same time period.

                                        Some data indicated that preventing illegal entry in certain traditional
                                        entry points along the southwest border and shifting illegal alien traffic to
                                        areas that are more remote and difficult to cross has resulted in an
                                        unanticipated effect--that is, a change in the causes and locations of the
                                        deaths of some illegal aliens who attempt to cross the border at these
                                        remote border areas. A 1998 University of Houston study estimated the
                                        number of undocumented migrant deaths at more than 1,600 between 1993



                                        Page 21                                               GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                          B-281961




                                      25
                          and 1997. Although the study did not find that the overall number of
                          migrant deaths had increased significantly over the 5-year period, it
                          concluded that the causes and locations of the deaths had changed
                          markedly. Death from environmental causes, such as hypothermia and
                          dehydration, increased in California and Texas, as did deaths from
                          drowning in the All-American Canal in Imperial County, CA. Deaths from
                          automobile/pedestrian accidents, homicides, and drowning in the San
                          Diego area decreased.

                          According to INS officials, reports of migrant deaths prompted the INS
                          Commissioner to announce, in June 1998, a Border Safety Initiative
                          designed to reduce injuries and prevent fatalities along the southwest
                          border. INS developed the initiative in cooperation with the Mexican
                          government and state and local officials in border communities to (1)
                          prevent deaths and injuries by informing and warning potential illegal
                          aliens of the realities and dangers of crossing the border at particular
                          routes, (2) target search and rescue operations in hazardous areas, and (3)
                          establish procedures and resources to help local officials identify the
                          bodies of persons who have died while attempting to cross the border.

                          INS developed a methodology to track migrant deaths in 40 counties that
                          are contiguous to the border or have historically been known for migrant
                          deaths due to routes of travel and environmental conditions. INS
                          estimated that 254 migrants died while trying to cross the border in fiscal
                          year 1998. INS was also developing a model to track Border Patrol rescues
                          along the border, beginning in fiscal year 1999.

Increases in Fraudulent   The strategy postulated that there would be increased attempts by illegal
                          aliens to enter the United States illegally at the ports of entry as it became
Entries                   more difficult to enter between the ports. No direct indicators of the
                          number of illegal entry attempts currently exist. However, land ports of
                          entry along the southwest border experienced a 17-percent increase in the
                          number of fraudulent documents intercepted, from 70,155 in fiscal year
                          1997 to 82,101 in fiscal year 1998. These ports of entry also had a 4-percent
                          increase in the number of false claims to United States citizenship, from
                          19,667 in fiscal year 1997 to 20,496 in fiscal year 1998. It is difficult to
                          determine whether the increases in the 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 and/or a result of greater
                          efforts made to detect fraud.

                          25
                            K. Eschbach, J. Hagan, N. Rodriguez, R. Hernandez-Leon, and S. Bailey, Death at the Border
                          (Houston: Center for Immigration Research, University of Houston), October 1998.



                          Page 22                                              GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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Some Evidence of Increased   As it became more difficult to cross the border illegally, INS anticipated an
                             increase in fees charged by alien smugglers and the use of more
Smuggling Fees               sophisticated smuggling tactics. There is some evidence that these interim
                             effects have occurred. For example, a January 1999 report by the Tucson
                             Border Patrol sector indicates the cost of smuggling and the sophistication
                                                                                      26
                             of smuggling techniques through that sector increased. According to this
                             report, based on interviews with apprehended illegal aliens conducted by
                             personnel from Tucson’s Anti-Smuggling Unit, the cost of being smuggled
                             from the border to the interior of the United States had increased. For
                             example, the cost of being smuggled 1,000 miles reportedly increased from
                             about $1,000 in fiscal year 1996 to an estimated $1,350 in fiscal year 1998.
                             At the same time, the Tucson report also stated that alien smugglers were
                             using more sophisticated smuggling tactics. The report attributed these
                             changes to the increase in Tucson sector personnel that resulted from the
                             implementation of the border strategy.

                             Currently, INS is expanding data collection on smuggling fees across the
                             entire southwest border. In fiscal year 1998, the El Paso Intelligence
                                    27
                             Center collected baseline data for a 2-month period, on fees charged for
                             smuggling Central American and Mexican aliens from the southwest
                             border to secondary staging areas and final destination points or work
                             locations. A summary of the findings in INS’ fiscal year 1998 Priorities and
                             Performance Management Plan review stated that smuggling fees from
                             border areas to various cities in the interior of the United States, such as
                             New York and Los Angeles, ranged from $600 to $1,200. Although the
                             review stated that “the quantity and quality of the data were not
                                                28
                             comprehensive,” INS intends to refine its data collection efforts in fiscal
                             year 1999. INS officials also cited concerns that INS’ collection and
                             analysis of intelligence data on alien smuggling is limited because some
                             INS offices do not have full-time intelligence officers.

INS Beginning to Measure     The strategy postulated that there would be a decrease in recidivism--that
                             is, in attempted reentries by illegal aliens who previously had been
Attempted Reentries          apprehended--as control was gained in particular locations. According to
                             INS, this would be an indicator that the strategy was deterring illegal alien

                             26
                              Managing the U.S. Attorney General’s Strategy for Controlling Illegal Immigration in the Tucson
                             Sector Area of Operations (Tucson, AZ: Tucson Sector Strategy Response to the Government
                             Performance and Results Act (GPRA)), January 1999.
                             27
                               The El Paso Intelligence Center is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating
                             intelligence information related to drug, alien, and weapons smuggling.
                             28
                              Fiscal Year 1998 Fourth Quarter Performance Review: Border Enforcement (Washington, D.C.: U.S.
                             Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service), December 1998, p. 7.



                             Page 23                                                GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
B-281961




entry. INS planned to use IDENT, its automated fingerprinting system, to
identify recidivists and analyze their crossing patterns along the southwest
border.

In our 1997 report, we stated that computer problems had affected the
usefulness of IDENT data and INS’ ability to track recidivism over several
      29
years. At that time, INS officials told us that although IDENT data
gathered since January 1996 were reliable and accurate, they had not done
any analysis to examine trends in recidivism.

In April 1999, INS officials told us that since IDENT began as a prototype
in October 1994, several modifications have been made to the system’s
hardware and software, which have resulted in improved matching and
data accuracy. In addition, the proportion of apprehended aliens enrolled
in IDENT has been increasing as more Border Patrol sectors have begun
using IDENT. For example, during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1998,
85 percent of the illegal aliens apprehended by southwest border sectors
were enrolled in the IDENT system compared with 56 percent during the
fourth quarter of fiscal year 1997.

As a result, INS determined that IDENT data beginning in October 1997
were sufficiently complete and reliable for internal analysis. INS officials
said that, as of April 1999, INS’ Statistics Branch was analyzing this more
recent IDENT data. An INS official stated that the contractor currently
evaluating the southwest border strategy for INS (see page 26 for a
discussion of this evaluation) is also using recent IDENT data as part of its
report.

Data continue to be limited on the strategy’s effects on decreasing
attempted reentries by illegal aliens. A March 1998 review of IDENT
implementation on the southwest border by Justice’s OIG found that less
than two-thirds of apprehended illegal aliens were being enrolled in
       30
IDENT. The OIG reported that, although IDENT and related biometrics
technologies could be useful in many INS operations, “INS is not yet
making consistent and effective use of IDENT as a tool for border
enforcement.” The report said that (1) not all apprehended aliens were
enrolled in IDENT, (2) INS was not entering the fingerprints of all deported


29
     GAO/GGD-98-21, p. 43.
30
  Review of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Automated Biometric Identification System
(IDENT) (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Inspections
Division, Report No. I-98-10), March 1998.



Page 24                                              GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                               B-281961




                                                                                                                            31
                               aliens and known criminal aliens into the IDENT lookout database, and
                               (3) INS needed to coordinate with the U.S. Attorneys for each district
                               along the southwest border to establish a border enforcement and
                               prosecution strategy that takes advantage of IDENT. The report also
                               noted that “there were virtually no controls in place to ensure the quality
                               of the data entered into the IDENT lookout database."

                               In March 1999, an official with the Justice OIG told us that INS had
                               satisfactorily responded to most of the report’s recommendations. For
                               example, INS was entering a greater proportion of apprehended aliens into
                               IDENT. To ensure deported and criminal aliens were in IDENT, INS
                               established new procedures and criteria for placing individuals in the
                               IDENT lookout database. INS instructed Border Patrol Sector chiefs to
                               initiate contact with their local U.S. Attorney to inform them about the
                               usefulness of IDENT in prosecuting recidivists and alien smugglers.
                               Lastly, according to this official, INS added additional data integrity checks
                               to ensure the accuracy of data entered into IDENT.

                               INS plans to deploy IDENT systems nationwide. According to INS’ fiscal
                               year 1998 Priorities and Performance Management Plan review, INS
                               deployed IDENT at 194 additional locations in fiscal year 1998, exceeding
                               its goal of 100 locations and bringing the total IDENT locations nationwide
                               to 370. However, the use of IDENT has been uneven at these locations.
                               During fiscal year 1998, the percentage of apprehended aliens enrolled in
                               the IDENT system at locations nationwide varied from 17 to 90 percent,
                               with an average of 85 percent, just short of INS’ targeted goal of 88
                               percent. Until IDENT is fully implemented, INS will not have complete
                               estimates of the number of attempted reentries.

Strategy’s Effects on Border   The strategy anticipated a reduction in border violence as border control
                               was achieved. INS officials told us that they anticipated that crime would
Violence Remains Unknown       decline in sections of the border where INS invested more enforcement
                               resources. However, INS does not have data that would reliably measure
                               the impact of the strategy’s implementation on border crime.



                               31
                                 According to the March 1998 OIG review of IDENT implementation, INS’ lookout database contains
                               information on deported and criminal aliens. Fingerprints for these aliens are entered in the lookout
                               database at a central location in Washington, D.C., from 10-print cards sent by INS offices around the
                               country. Index fingerprints, photographs, and basic text information are scanned and retyped from the
                               10-print cards to create individual lookout records in the database. At the time of the OIG’s review,
                               INS had entered the fingerprints of 41 percent of the aliens deported and excluded in fiscal year 1996 in
                               the IDENT lookout database; 24 percent of the fingerprint records in the IDENT lookout database were
                               accompanied by the aliens’ photograph.



                               Page 25                                                GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                       B-281961




                       During the first half of fiscal year 1998, the Border Patrol began contacting
                                                                                              32
                       local law enforcement agencies in certain southern border locations to
                       collect crime statistics to determine the impact that the national border
                       control strategy has made on crime in target cities. The crime statistics
                       from these locations identify crimes committed—such as homicide, rape,
                       robbery, burglary—but not persons arrested or their immigration status.
                       In its fourth quarter report on the 1998 Priorities, INS raised concerns
                       about using these data as a measure of effectiveness because it could not
                       determine the extent to which illegal aliens accounted for violent crimes
                       along the border.

                       Although the interim results of the strategy indicate that the strategy to
INS Is Responding to   date has made certain areas of the southwest border more difficult to
Our Recommendation     breach, large numbers of illegal aliens continue to make their way into the
                       United States. Given the intractability of the problem and the billions of
                       dollars invested in border-control measures, it is important for INS to
                       assess which aspects of the strategy are most effective. Similarly, if the
                       strategy’s goals are not being achieved, INS should determine the reasons
                                                              33
                       they are not. Thus, in our 1997 report we recommended that the Attorney
                       General develop and implement a plan for a formal, cost-effective,
                       systematic evaluation of the strategy.

                       Pursuant to our recommendation, INS entered into agreements in
                       September 1998 with three independent contractors to provide evaluative
                       studies. The Executive Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning
                       wrote us that these agreements “will enable INS to develop a southwest
                       border strategy evaluation and to initiate the analysis that fulfills these
                       evaluation plans.”

                       INS contracted with Advancia Corporation of Lawton, OK, to (1) design an
                       evaluation strategy, (2) identify data needs and analytical approaches, and
                       (3) conduct a study of the southwest border strategy. The contract is in
                       the amount of $340,000 and the final report is due May 1, 1999. In April
                       1999, an official with INS’ Office of Policy and Planning said that the
                       contractor was developing a formal analysis plan intended to assess the
                       effectiveness of the southwest border strategy to date, as well as an
                       evaluation design and analysis plan for continuing evaluation of the
                       strategy. These results would, in part, be used to provide a baseline for
                       future evaluation of the strategy.
                       32
                        Locations include San Diego East County and Calexico, CA; Yuma, Nogales, and Douglas, AZ; and El
                       Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville, TX.
                       33
                            GAO/GGD-98-21.



                       Page 26                                            GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
              B-281961




              INS also contracted for $200,000 with CNA Corporation in Alexandria, VA,
              to study how illegal migration and alien and drug smuggling in the
              Caribbean affect the southern coast of the United States, including Puerto
              Rico. A final report on this project is due August 1, 1999. An additional
              contract for $60,000 was made with San Diego Dialogue, of the University
              of California, San Diego, to study issues related to the ports of entry. At
              the time of our review, this study was still under way. INS could provide us
              with no other information on the contractors’ progress.

              INS continued in fiscal year 1998 to implement its 1994 strategy by
Conclusions   allocating additional personnel in accordance with the strategy, increasing
              the time Border Patrol agents spend on border enforcement activities, and
              attempting to identify the appropriate quantity and mix of technology and
              personnel needed to control the border.

              Data on the interim effects of the Attorney General’s strategy along the
              southwest border continue to be limited. The available data indicated that
              some of the changes anticipated by the strategy have occurred. For
              example, traditional routes of entry for illegal immigration, such as San
              Diego and El Paso, have shown significant declines in illegal alien
              apprehensions, while apprehensions in other areas have increased. While it
              does not appear that there has been an increase in the overall number of
              undocumented migrant deaths, some evidence exists that deaths resulting
              from attempted crossings in remote areas are increasing, which is an
              unintended consequence of the strategy. In addition, there is some
              evidence of increases in the number of attempted illegal entries at the
              ports of entry and increased smuggling fees. However, data are still
              lacking on some key aspects of the strategy, including the impact of the
              strategy on reducing attempted reentries of illegal aliens and reducing
              crime in border cities.
                                                       34
              As we recommended in our 1997 report, a comprehensive and systematic
              evaluation of the border strategy would go a long way towards providing
              information about the effectiveness of the strategy in reducing and
              deterring illegal entry. The evaluation studies that INS is funding, and INS’
              plans to use findings from these studies as a baseline for future evaluation,
              could potentially begin to provide such needed information. However,
              information on these studies was too limited at this stage for us to assess




              34
                   GAO/GGD-98-21.



              Page 27                                 GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                  B-281961




                  whether they will provide the information needed to comprehensively and
                  systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy.

                  On April 13, 1999, we obtained oral comments on a draft of this report
Agency Comments   from INS’ Assistant Director for Internal Audit and officials from the
                  following INS offices: Border Patrol, Policy and Planning, Budget, General
                  Counsel, Communications, and Inspections.

                  INS officials gave us updated information on the independent testing of the
                  IDENT database and INS plans for using IDENT to measure attempted
                  reentries. We revised our draft to reflect that INS is now beginning to
                  measure attempted reentries. INS officials generally agreed with the other
                  information presented in this report. They also provided other technical
                  comments that we incorporated into this report.

                  We are sending copies of this report to The Honorable Janet Reno,
                  Attorney General; The Honorable Doris Meissner, Commissioner of the
                  Immigration and Naturalization Service; The Honorable Raymond Kelly,
                  Commissioner of the Customs Service; The Honorable Jacob Lew, 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 II.




                  Richard M. Stana
                  Associate Director, Administration
                    of Justice Issues




                  Page 28                                GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
Page 29   GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
Contents



Letter                                                                                              1


Appendix I                                                                                         32

INS Border Patrol and
Inspections Staffing
and Selected Workload
Data
Appendix II                                                                                        36
                        General Government Division, Washington, D.C.                              36
Major Contributors to   Office of the General Counsel, Washington, D.C.                            36
This Report             Los Angeles Field Office                                                   36


Tables                  Table I.1: Authorized Border Patrol Agent Positions in                     32
                          Southwest Border Patrol Sectors, Fiscal Years 1993
                          Through 1998
                        Table I.2: Apprehensions by Southwest Border Patrol                        32
                          Sector, Fiscal Years 1993 Through 1998
                        Table I.3: Border Patrol Hours by Southwest Border                         33
                          Patrol Sector, Fiscal Years 1993 Through 1998
                        Table I.4: INS Inspections, Selected Workload and                          34
                          Enforcement Data by Southwest Border District
                          Offices, Fiscal Years 1994 Through 1998


Figures                 Figure 1: Number of On-Board Border Patrol Agents                           7
                          Increased in Phase I Sectors Between October 1993
                          and September 1998
                        Figure 2: Number of On-Board Border Patrol Agents                           8
                          Increased in Phase II Sectors Between October 1993
                          and September 1998
                        Figure 3: Number of On-Board Border Patrol Agents                           9
                          Increased in Phase III Sectors Between October 1993
                          and September 1998
                        Figure 4: Number of On-Board Inspectors Increased at                       14
                          Land Ports of Entry in INS District Offices Along the
                          Southwest Border Between September 1994 and
                          September 1998




                        Page 30                                GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
Contents




Figure 5: Number of Apprehensions Decreased in Phase I                        18
  Border Patrol Sectors Between Fiscal Years 1993 and
  1998
Figure 6: Number of Apprehensions Increased in Phase II                       19
  Border Patrol Sectors Between Fiscal Years 1993 and
  1998
Figure 7: Number of Apprehensions Increased in Two of                         20
  Three Phase III Border Patrol Sectors Between Fiscal
  Years 1993 and 1998
Figure 8: Percentage of Southwest Border Apprehensions                        21
  Decreased in San Diego and El Paso Border Patrol
  Sectors Between Fiscal Years 1993 and 1998




Abbreviations

DOD           Department of Defense
GIS           geographic information system
INS           Immigration and Naturalization Service
INTEX         Inspections Traveler Examination
OIG           Office of the Inspector General
ONDCP         Office of National Drug Control Policy
SENTRI        Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection




Page 31                                   GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
 Appendix I

 INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing
 and Selected Workload Data

Table I.1: Authorized Border Patrol Agent Positions in Southwest Border Patrol Sectors, Fiscal Years 1993 Through 1998
                                                                                                               Total authorized
                           Authorized agents                   Authorized increases each year                            agents
                                             a
 Border Patrol sector                  FY 93         FY 94       FY 95        FY 96       FY 97         FY 98             FY 98
 San Diego                                980          300        229           428         278              0            2,215
 El Centro                                194            0           0            0          50            134              378
 Yuma                                     178            0           0            0            0            56              234
 Tucson                                   281            0        128           246         228            140            1,023
 El Paso                                  602           50          93          101         107             45              998
 Marfa                                    131            0           0            0            0            25              156
 Del Rio                                  290            0        100             0          52            135              577
 Laredo                                   347            0          75            0          49            205              676
 McAllen                                  386            0          75           25         228            260              974
                                                                                               b
 Total                                  3,389          350        700           800        992           1,000            7,231
                                            a
                                            According to INS officials, the number of on-board agents as of September 30, 1993, is considered to
                                            be the fiscal year 1993 authorized Border Patrol staffing level for comparison purposes.
                                            b
                                            Does not include eight agents deployed to Puerto Rico for the Attorney General's Anticrime initiative.
                                            Source: INS.




 Table I.2: Apprehensions by Southwest Border Patrol Sector, Fiscal Years 1993 Through 1998
 Border Patrol
 sector                        FY 93            FY 94              FY 95             FY 96                           FY 97                 FY 98
 San Diego                   531,689         450,152             524,231           483,815                         283,889               248,092
 El Centro                    30,058           27,654             37,317            66,873                         146,210               226,695
 Yuma                         23,548           21,211             20,894            28,310                          30,177                76,195
 Tucson                       92,639         139,473             227,529           305,348                         272,397               387,406
 El Paso                     285,781           79,688            110,971           145,929                         124,376               125,035
 Marfa                        15,486           13,494             11,552            13,214                          12,692                14,509
 Del Rio                      42,289           50,036             76,490           121,137                         113,280               131,058
 Laredo                       82,348           73,142             93,305           131,841                         141,893               103,433
 McAllen                     109,048          124,251            169,101           210,553                         243,793               204,257
 Total Southwest
 border                    1,212,886          979,101          1,271,390         1,507,020                      1,368,707              1,516,680
                                            Source: INS.




                                            Page 32                                              GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                          Appendix I
                                          INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing and Selected Workload Data




Table I.3: Border Patrol Hours by Southwest Border Patrol Sector, Fiscal Years 1993 Through 1998

 Border Patrol sector          FY 93             FY 94              FY 95              FY 96              FY 97          FY 98
 San Diego
 General enforcement           59,050           72,240             43,884             26,695             20,080         23,171
 Program support              917,149          933,549          1,030,319          1,255,970          1,553,100      1,326,847
 Border enforcement         1,067,872        1,004,232          1,361,983          1,756,647          2,098,474      2,480,964
 Total                      2,044,071        2,010,021          2,436,186          3,039,312          3,671,654      3,830,982

 El Centro
 General enforcement          27,396            24,871             19,252             14,648             8,426           3,491
 Program support             149,095           138,529            143,259            148,241           156,925         246,252
 Border enforcement          246,289           249,180            248,206            251,101           247,829         644,741
 Total                       422,780           412,580            410,717            413,990           413,180         894,484

 Yuma
 General Enforcement          34,645            29,259             20,087             16,511            10,134           6,040
 Program support             104,368           102,467            112,633            105,227           105,214         118,950
 Border enforcement          255,330           258,137            249,374            257,871           222,916         277,342
 Total                       394,343           389,863            382,094            379,609           338,264         402,332

 Tucson
 General enforcement          25,418            20,756             15,768             17,557             16,855         33,689
 Program support             264,022           250,294            316,267            395,867            582,792        524,167
 Border enforcement          315,541           344,813            365,489            500,349            752,079      1,246,943
 Total                       604,981           615,863            697,524            913,773          1,351,726      1,804,799

 El Paso
 General enforcement           84,231           37,365             50,331             34,967             34,220         26,828
 Program support              414,470          273,088            361,939            477,792            560,523        645,719
 Border enforcement           810,929        1,023,146            964,533          1,028,846          1,065,002      1,234,208
 Total                      1,309,630        1,333,599          1,376,803          1,541,605          1,659,745      1,906,755

 Marfa
 General enforcement          46,467            42,755             36,854             13,757             3,044           2,911
 Program support              99,873            93,757             89,693             91,170            85,811          85,618
 Border enforcement          172,732           173,084            167,585            157,773           182,437         190,833
 Total                       319,072           309,596            294,132            262,700           271,292         279,362

 Del Rio
 General enforcement          30,854            26,073             22,077             17,742             8,610          12,370
 Program support             226,377           222,617            233,946            310,483           321,543         366,278
 Border enforcement          396,972           382,607            399,761            501,760           531,672         577,536
 Total                       654,203           631,297            655,784            829,985           861,825         956,184

 Laredo
 General enforcement          25,342            24,199             19,884             19,664            11,565          12,430
 Program support             188,928           165,711            175,005            210,034           218,320         260,515
 Border enforcement          566,219           568,169            536,463            615,189           666,257         782,262
 Total                       780,489           758,079            731,352            844,887           896,142       1,055,207

 McAllen



                                          Page 33                                       GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                             Appendix I
                                             INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing and Selected Workload Data




 Border Patrol sector               FY 93           FY 94                 FY 95                 FY 96                FY 97                 FY 98
 General enforcement               47,543          45,016                39,511                23,261               19,888                 9,084
 Program support                  358,910         355,743               353,511               418,905              460,536               620,383
 Border enforcement               482,576         470,671               470,868               551,726              615,514             1,082,107
 Total                            889,029         871,430               863,890               993,892            1,095,938             1,711,574

 Southwest border
 General enforcement              380,946         322,534               267,648               184,802              132,822               130,014
 Program support                2,723,192       2,535,755             2,816,572             3,413,689            4,044,764             4,194,729
 Border enforcement             4,314,460       4,474,039             4,764,262             5,621,262            6,382,180             8,516,936
 Total                          7,418,598       7,332,328             7,848,482             9,219,753           10,559,766            12,841,679
                                             Note: General enforcement includes duties indirectly related to deterrence, detection, and
                                             apprehensions of illegal aliens, such as investigations of employers, criminal aliens, and smugglers.
                                             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.




Table I.4: INS Inspections, Selected Workload and Enforcement Data by Southwest Border District Offices, Fiscal Years 1994
Through 1998
INS District Office                            FY 94            FY 95            FY 96               FY 97              FY 98
San Diego
                        a
U.S. citizens inspected                   28,808,845       26,776,081       26,342,930          28,952,299         28,644,148
                 a
Aliens inspected                          63,152,638       59,387,840       57,278,208          61,149,254         63,620,553
Total persons inspected
                          a
                                          91,961,483       86,163,921       83,621,138          90,101,553         92,264,701
                                                       b
Pedestrians inspected                                             16,744,829            19,420,202             19,013,607             17,871,910
                                                       b
Vehicles inspected                                                28,094,028            26,152,680             29,495,749             30,180,317
Fraudulent documents intercepted                41,974                46,515                41,221                 35,719                 44,751
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship           15,403                19,368                12,633                  8,603                  8,928
Individuals smuggled                             6,565                 5,377                 6,581                  7,976                 11,656
Phoenix
                        a
U.S. citizens inspected                     11,717,738             8,299,518             8,313,959              8,317,647              8,480,693
                 a
Aliens inspected                            23,268,288            23,072,110            23,035,160             23,716,873             24,577,651
                          a
Total persons inspected                     34,986,026            31,371,628            31,349,119             32,034,520             33,058,344
                                                       b
Pedestrians inspected                                              7,806,361             7,657,480              7,651,290              7,209,033
                                                       b
Vehicles inspected                                                 8,951,615             8,984,091              9,311,850              9,752,364
Fraudulent documents intercepted                 7,599                 6,367                 5,338                  4,461                  5,503
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship              825                   686                   772                    916                  1,073
Individuals smuggled                               279                   253                   427                    408                    355
El Paso
                        a
U.S. citizens inspected                     27,230,751            24,975,450            22,481,928             22,178,758             22,729,667
                 a
Aliens inspected                            42,033,208            39,821,598            36,339,994             36,178,016             38,316,842
                          a
Total persons inspected                     69,263,959            64,797,048            58,821,922             58,356,774             61,046,509
                                                       b
Pedestrians inspected                                              4,578,798             4,571,073              4,578,644              6,982,414
                                                       b
Vehicles inspected                                                18,143,401            17,529,375             17,534,880             17,741,105
Fraudulent documents intercepted                 8,173                 8,754                11,034                 11,777                 11,309
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship            4,567                 5,887                 6,725                  6,980                  5,429




                                             Page 34                                              GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
                                          Appendix I
                                          INS Border Patrol and Inspections Staffing and Selected Workload Data




INS District Office                           FY 94                  FY 95                  FY 96                  FY 97               FY 98
Individuals smuggled                            751                    599                    611                    578                 602
San Antonio
                        a
U.S. citizens inspected                  18,668,021            13,979,554             14,355,119               14,998,041        15,935,580
                 a
Aliens inspected                         39,567,895            41,165,203             39,708,171               46,218,306        46,931,023
                          a
Total persons inspected                  58,235,916            55,144,757             54,063,290               61,216,347        62,866,603
                                                    b
Pedestrians inspected                                           7,289,530              5,219,599                7,003,458         7,782,173
                                                    b
Vehicles inspected                                             11,454,275             13,026,781               13,432,433        14,274,699
Fraudulent documents intercepted               6,338                6,100                  7,636                    8,899            10,046
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship          1,467                1,284                  1,541                    1,897             2,619
Individuals smuggled                           1,559                1,224                  1,349                    1,228             1,601
Harlingen
                        a
U.S. citizens inspected                  20,831,853            12,920,985             12,849,749               13,740,688        14,534,702
                 a
Aliens inspected                         40,564,252            39,536,870             40,258,253               41,632,438        40,022,402
                          a
Total persons inspected                  61,396,105            52,457,855             53,108,002               55,373,126        54,557,104
                                                    b
Pedestrians inspected                                           7,348,097              7,943,636                7,798,241         7,551,773
                                                    b
Vehicles inspected                                             14,412,630             15,195,266               16,059,800        16,896,525
Fraudulent documents intercepted               9,176                7,100                  9,681                    9,299            10,492
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship          1,264                1,549                  1,702                    1,271             2,447
Individuals smuggled                           1,394                  897                  1,299                    1,256             1,703
Total Southwest border
                        a
U.S. citizens inspected                 107,257,208           86,951,588             84,343,685                88,187,433        90,324,790
                 a
Aliens inspected                        208,586,281          202,983,621            196,619,786               208,894,887       213,468,471
                          a
Total persons inspected                 315,843,489          289,935,209            280,963,471               297,082,320       303,793,261
                                                    b
Pedestrians inspected                                         43,767,615             44,811,990                46,045,240        47,397,303
                                                    b
Vehicles inspected                                            81,055,949             80,888,193                85,834,712        88,845,010
Fraudulent documents intercepted              73,260              74,836                 74,910                    70,155            82,101
Oral false claims to U.S. citizenship         23,526              28,774                 23,373                    19,667            20,496
Individuals smuggled                          10,548               8,350                 10,267                    11,446            15,917
                                          a
                                          Estimate based on periodic sampling of the number of occupants per vehicle entering the port of
                                          entry.
                                          b
                                          INS did not collect data on these categories in fiscal year 1994.
                                          Source: INS.




                                          Page 35                                               GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
Appendix II

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Evi L. Rezmovic, Assistant Director
General Government      Katherine M. Wheeler, Publishing Advisor
Division, Washington,
D.C.
                        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




                        Page 36                                GAO/GGD-99-44 Southwest Border Strategy
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