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Inspections Exist at Our Nation's Ports of Entry' which was released on 
November 5, 2007. 

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Report to Congressional Requesters: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

November 2007: 

Border Security: 

Despite Progress, Weaknesses in Traveler Inspections Exist at Our 
Nation's Ports of Entry: 

Border Security: 

GAO-08-219: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-219, a report to congressional requestors. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for keeping 
terrorists and other dangerous people from entering the country while 
also facilitating the cross-border movement of millions of travelers. 
CBP carries out this responsibility at 326 air, sea, and land ports of 
entry. In response to a congressional request, GAO examined CBP 
traveler inspection efforts, the progress made and the challenges that 
remain in staffing and training at ports of entry, and the progress CBP 
has made in developing strategic plans and performance measures for its 
traveler inspection program. This is a public version of a For Official 
Use Only report GAO issued on October 5, 2007. To conduct its work, GAO 
reviewed and analyzed CBP data and documents related to inspections, 
staffing, and training, interviewed managers and officers, observed 
inspections at eight major air and land ports of entry, and tested 
inspection controls at eight small land ports of entry. Information the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deemed sensitive has been 
redacted. 

What GAO Found: 

CBP has had some success in identifying inadmissible aliens and other 
violators, but weaknesses in its operations increase the potential that 
terrorists and inadmissible travelers could enter the country. In 
fiscal year 2006, CBP turned away over 200,000 inadmissible aliens and 
interdicted other violators. Although CBPs goal is to interdict all 
violators, CBP estimated that several thousand inadmissible aliens and 
other violators entered the country though ports of entry in fiscal 
year 2006. Weaknesses in 2006 inspection procedures, such as not 
verifying the nationality and admissibility of each traveler, 
contribute to failed inspections. Although CBP took actions to address 
these weaknesses, subsequent follow up work conducted by GAO months 
after CBPs actions found that weaknesses such as those described above 
still existed. In July 2007, CBP issued detailed procedures for 
conducting inspections including requiring field office managers to 
assess compliance with these procedures. However, CBP has not 
established an internal control to ensure field office managers share 
their assessments with CBP headquarters to help ensure that the new 
procedures are consistently implemented across all ports of entry and 
reduce the risk of failed traveler inspections. 

CBP developed a staffing model that estimates it needs up to several 
thousand more staff. Field office managers said that staffing shortages 
affected their ability to carry out anti-terrorism programs and created 
other vulnerabilities in the inspections process. CBP recognizes that 
officer attrition has impaired its ability to attain budgeted staffing 
levels and is in the process of developing a strategy to help curb 
attrition. CBP has made progress in developing training programs, yet 
it does not measure the extent to which it provides training to all who 
need it and whether new officers demonstrate proficiency in required 
skills. 

CPB issued a strategic plan for operations at its ports of entry and 
has collected performance data that can be used to measure its progress 
in achieving its strategic goals. However, current performance measures 
do not gauge CBP effectiveness in apprehending inadmissible aliens and 
other violators, a key strategic goal. 

Figure: Vehicle Lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and Passenger 
Lines at JFK International Airport: 

This figure is a combination of two photographs. The first pictures 
vehicle lanes at the San Ysidro port of entry, and the other shows 
passenger lines at JFK International Airport. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO made recommendations aimed at enhancing internal controls in the 
inspection process, mechanisms for measuring training provided and new 
officer proficiency, and implementing a performance measure for 
apprehending inadmissible aliens and other violators. DHS concurred 
with our recommendations and said that CBP is taking steps to address 
them. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

CBP Has Had Some Success in Interdicting Inadmissible Aliens and Other 
Violators, but It Still Needs to Overcome Weaknesses in Its Traveler 
Inspections and Physical Infrastructure: 

Progress Being Made, but Challenges Still Exist in CBP Officer Staffing 
and Training: 

CBP Has Developed Strategic Goals for Its Traveler Inspection Program, 
but Challenges Remain in Formalizing Related Performance Measures: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: CBP's Strengths and Challenges, According to OPM Surveys: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Related GAO Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Top 10 Items--Strengths in CBP: 

Table 2: Bottom 10 Items--Weaknesses in CBP: 

Table 3: Selected Items in Which CBP Scored Lower than Elsewhere in the 
Federal Government (in percentages): 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Vehicle Lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry: 

Figure 2: Border Crossings at Ports of Entry in Fiscal Year 2005: 

Figure 3: Arriving International Passengers Awaiting CBP Inspection at 
JFK International Airport: 

Figure 4: CBP Technology Used to Screen Commercial Trucks: 

Figure 5: NEXUS Lane at a Port of Entry: 

Figure 6: License Plate Reader at a Port of Entry: 

Figure 7: Canine Team Inspecting Vehicular Traffic at a Land Port of 
Entry: 

Abbreviations: 

CBP: Customs and Border Protection: 

DHS: Department of Homeland Security: 

FAST: Free and Secure Trade: 

FMFIA: Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act: 

FTE: full-time equivalent: 

GSA: General Services Administration: 

JFK: John F. Kennedy: 

OPM: Office of Personnel Management: 

SENTRI: Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection: 

US-VISIT U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

Washington, DC 20548: 

November 5, 2007: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka: 
Chairman: 
Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal 
Workforce, and the District of Columbia: 
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson: 
Chairman: 
Committee on Homeland Security: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Sheila Jackson-Lee: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Kendrick B. Meek: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Bob Etheridge: 
House of Representatives: 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)--a major component within the 
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)--is the lead federal agency in 
charge of inspecting travelers seeking to enter the United States at 
air, land, and sea ports of entry.[Footnote 1]CBP officers, who number 
about 17,600 at these ports of entry, play a critical role in carrying 
out this responsibility. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 
2001, their role has involved increased emphasis on countering threats 
posed by terrorists and others attempting to enter the country with 
fraudulent or altered travel documents. Intelligence officials believe 
that the United States will face a persistent and evolving terrorist 
threat and that the terrorist group al Qaeda will intensify its efforts 
to put operatives here. There is also a growing concern that terrorists 
with no criminal record may use legitimate travel documents when they 
attempt to enter the country through ports of entry. 

In addition to its homeland security responsibilities, CBP is 
responsible for preventing inadmissible aliens, criminals, and 
inadmissible goods from entering the country. Doing so is a difficult 
task given the high volume of travelers and goods that enter the 
country. For example, officers frequently carry out their 
responsibilities with little time to make decisions about admitting 
individuals into the country because they also face pressure to 
facilitate the cross-border movement of millions of legitimate 
travelers and billions of dollars in international trade. 

When CBP was created in March 2003, it represented a merger of 
components from three departments--the U.S. Customs Service,[Footnote 
2] the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,[Footnote 3] and the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.[Footnote 4] As part of the 
merger, CBP moved forward with an approach that was to allow a CBP 
officer, with the proper cross-training, to carry out homeland security 
as well as traditional customs and immigration responsibilities. For 
example, former customs inspectors would be trained and work on tasks 
traditionally done by immigration inspectors and vice versa. The CBP 
officer would also be capable of referring agricultural violations to 
agricultural specialists. By training officers from legacy agencies to 
perform both the customs and immigration functions, CBP aimed to have a 
well-trained and well-integrated workforce to carry out the range of 
the agency's missions. 

In July 2003, we reported on vulnerabilities and inefficiencies in 
traveler inspections.[Footnote 5] Given the critical role that CBP 
plays in homeland security, you asked us to review the progress CBP has 
made in strengthening its ability to inspect travelers arriving at the 
nation's international airports and land borders. In response, on 
October 5, 2007, we issued a For Official Use Only[Footnote 6] report 
that addressed the following questions: 

* What success and challenges has CBP had in interdicting inadmissible 
aliens and other violators[Footnote 7] at its ports of entry? 

* What progress has CBP made in improving staffing and training at its 
ports of entry and how successful has it been in carrying out these 
workforce programs? 

* What progress and problems has CBP encountered in setting goals and 
performance measures for its traveler inspection program? 

As our October 2007 report contained information that DHS considered 
law enforcement sensitive, this version of the report omits sensitive 
information about CBP's traveler inspection efforts, including 
information on the techniques used to carry out inspections, data on 
the number of inadmissible aliens and other violators that enter the 
country each year, and data on staffing at ports of entry. In addition, 
at DHS's request, we have redacted the specific locations that we 
visited. 

The overall methodology used for our initial report is relevant to this 
version of the report since the information in this product is derived 
from our first report. To address the questions above, we analyzed 
information and data on CBP's traveler inspections, staffing, and 
training at ports of entry. We reviewed CBP policies and procedures for 
the traveler inspection program as well as other documents related to 
traveler inspection efforts. We interviewed CBP officials on the status 
of CBP efforts to develop a staffing model, train staff, carry out 
traveler inspections, and develop performance measures.[Footnote 8] For 
information that would provide an overall picture of CBP's efforts, we 
reviewed and analyzed several nationwide databases, including data on 
staffing, training, attrition, resource requests from CBP's 20 field 
offices[Footnote 9] and one pre-clearance headquarters office, and 
apprehension of inadmissible aliens and other violators at major air 
and land ports of entry. We assessed the reliability of CBP's data from 
CBP's random selection program of travelers and staffing and training 
data by, among other things, meeting with knowledgeable officials about 
these data, reviewing relevant documentation, and performing electronic 
testing. We concluded that data from CBP databases, with the exception 
of the data on training as we discuss later in our report, were 
sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our review. Although we 
discussed the staffing model and its results with CBP officials 
responsible for the model, validating the model and its results was 
outside the scope of our review. 

To supplement our analyses of CBP's nationwide data, we visited eight 
ports of entry. While we cannot generalize our work from our visits to 
all ports of entry, we chose these ports of entry to provide examples 
of operations at air and land ports of entry. At each site, we held 
discussion groups with CBP officers and met with management to discuss, 
among other things, staffing and training programs. In addition, GAO 
investigators visited other ports of entry to test the traveler 
inspection process. Although we cannot generalize our investigator's 
work at these locations to all ports of entry, we selected these ports 
of entry to provide examples of traveler inspections. Our investigators 
did their work in accordance with quality standards for investigations 
as set forth by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. 
Unless we specify that the work was done by our investigators, all 
referrals to our visits to ports of entry pertain to the eight ports of 
entry cited above. In addition, we analyzed the 2004 and 2006 Office of 
Personnel Management Federal Human Capital Surveys of staff at 36 
federal agencies, including the results from CBP, that dealt with the 
views of federal employees on training and staffing in the workplace. 
We reviewed standards for internal control in the federal 
government[Footnote 10] and compared the standards for information and 
communications and monitoring with CBP's policies and procedures for 
traveler inspections. Finally, we reviewed prior GAO reports on best 
practices for developing strategic plans and performance measures and 
compared the best practices with CBP's plans and measures for its 
operations at its ports of entry. See appendix I for further 
explanation of our scope and methodology. We did our work in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards from August 2006 
through September 2007. 

Results in Brief: 

CBP has had some success in interdicting inadmissible aliens and other 
violators, but weaknesses in its traveler inspection procedures and 
related physical infrastructure increase the potential that dangerous 
people and illegal goods could enter the country. In 2006, CBP officers 
turned away over 200,000 aliens who attempted to enter the country 
illegally, and seized over 600,000 pounds of illegal drugs and more 
than 40,000 fraudulent documents, according to CBP. To help officers 
identify potential violators, CBP has installed additional technology 
to inspect vehicles for smuggled aliens and illicit cargo and to check 
traveler documents against law enforcement databases. While CBP has had 
some success in apprehending inadmissible aliens and other violators, 
its analyses indicate that several thousand inadmissible aliens and 
other violators entered the country at land and air ports of entry in 
fiscal year 2006.[Footnote 11] When CBP does not apprehend a 
potentially dangerous person, this increases the potential that 
national security may be compromised. Weaknesses that contributed to 
failed inspections relate both to procedures and to infrastructure: 

* Weaknesses in traveler inspection procedures. In mid-2006, CBP 
reviewed videotapes from about 150 large and small ports of entry and, 
according to CBP officials, determined that while CBP officers carried 
out thorough traveler inspections in many instances, they also 
identified numerous instances where traveler inspections at land ports 
of entry were weak in that they did not determine the citizenship and 
admissibility of travelers entering the country as required by law. 
Such weaknesses included officers not stopping vehicles for inspection 
and pedestrians crossing the border without any visual or verbal 
contact from a CBP officer despite operating procedures that required 
officers to do so. In the summer of 2006, CBP management took actions 
to place greater management emphasis on traveler inspections by holding 
meetings with senior management to reinforce the importance of carrying 
out effective inspections and by providing training to all supervisors 
and officers on the importance of interviewing travelers, checking 
travel documents, and having adequate supervisory presence. However, 
tests our investigators conducted in October 2006 and January 2007--as 
many as 5 months after CBP issued guidance and conducted the training-
-showed similar weaknesses as those on the videotape were still 
occurring in traveler inspections at ports of entry. At two ports, our 
investigators were not asked to provide a travel document to verify 
their identity--a procedure that management had called on officers to 
carry out--as part of the inspection. The extent of continued 
noncompliance is unknown, but these results point to the challenge CBP 
management faces in ensuring its directives are carried out. Standards 
for internal control in the federal government require that information 
should be communicated to agency management to enable it to carry out 
its program responsibilities. In July 2007, CBP issued new internal 
policies and procedures for agency officials responsible for its 
traveler inspection program at land ports of entry. The new policies 
and procedures require field office managers to conduct periodic audits 
and assessments to ensure compliance with the new inspection 
procedures. However, they do not call on managers to share the results 
of their assessments with headquarters management. Without this 
communication, CBP management may be hindering its ability to 
efficiently use the information to overcome weaknesses in traveler 
inspections. 

* Weaknesses in physical infrastructure. While we cannot generalize our 
findings, at several ports of entry of entry that we examined, barriers 
designed to ensure that vehicles pass through a CBP inspection booth 
were not in place, increasing the risk that vehicles could enter the 
country without inspection. CBP recognizes that it has infrastructure 
weaknesses and has estimated it needs about $4 billion to make the 
needed capital improvements needed at all 163 land crossings. CBP has 
prioritized the ports with the greatest need. Each year, depending upon 
funding availability, CBP submits its proposed capital improvement 
projects based upon the prioritized list it has developed. Several 
factors affect CBP's ability to make improvements, including the fact 
that some ports of entry are owned by other governmental or private 
entities, potentially adding to the time needed to agree on 
infrastructure changes and put them in place. As of September 2007, CBP 
had infrastructure projects related to 20 different ports of entry in 
various stages of development. 

CBP has taken action to improve staffing and training at ports of entry 
by assessing staffing needs, adding more officers since 2005 in 
response to higher budgeted staffing levels, and developing an 
extensive training program, but it lacks (1) data to measure progress 
on providing required training and (2) certain elements in its on-the- 
job training program for new CBP officers, which limits its ability to 
effectively train and evaluate the performance of new officers. 
According to managers at ports of entry, staffing shortages can result 
in, among other things, officer fatigue that can affect the quality of 
traveler inspections. Untrained or poorly trained officers can increase 
the probability that terrorists, inadmissible aliens, and illicit goods 
will enter the country. Progress and problems with staffing and 
training involved the following: 

* Progress and problems with staffing. Responding to language in a 
conference report for its fiscal year 2007 appropriation, CBP has 
developed a staffing model to estimate staffing needs. The model is 
based on several assumptions, such as whether overtime is considered as 
part of CBP's staffing at ports of entry, CBP's model estimates that 
CBP may need up to several thousand more officers and agricultural 
specialists to operate its ports of entry. According to field 
officials, lack of staff is affecting their ability to carry out border 
security responsibilities. For example, we examined requests for 
resources from CBP's 20 field offices and its pre-clearance 
headquarters office for January 2007 and found that managers at 19 of 
the 21 offices cited examples of anti-terrorism activities not being 
carried out, new or expanded facilities that were not fully 
operational, and radiation monitors and other inspection technologies 
not being fully used because of staff shortages. At seven of the eight 
major ports we visited, officers and managers told us that not having 
sufficient staff contributes to morale problems, fatigue, lack of 
backup support, and safety issues when officers inspect travelers-- 
increasing the potential that terrorists, inadmissible travelers, and 
illicit goods could enter the country. Reported staffing shortages are 
exacerbated by challenges in retaining staff, contributing to an 
increasing number of vacant positions nationwide. CBP officials 
attribute attrition to retirements, officers receiving better law 
enforcement benefits at other DHS components and other federal 
agencies, and new officers being unable to afford high cost-of-living 
locations. Low job satisfaction, as reflected in the Office of 
Personnel Management's (OPM) Federal Human Capital Survey, is also a 
contributing factor to attrition, according to CBP. CBP recognized that 
it has a problem with retaining staff and plans to develop ways to stem 
its problems in this area. For example, CBP plans to analyze attrition 
data and data from OPM's Human Capital Survey and employee satisfaction 
and exit surveys in order to help identify what actions are needed to 
curb attrition. CBP plans to develop some initial retention strategies 
by December 2008 and by September 2009 develop approaches to retain 
staff based on areas of concern identified in the employee exit survey. 

* Progress and problems with training. CBP has developed 37 courses on 
such topics as how to carry out inspections and detect fraudulent 
documents and has instituted national guidelines for a 12-week on-the- 
job training program that new officers should receive at land ports of 
entry. However, CBP faces challenges in providing the required 
training. Managers at seven of the eight ports of entry we visited said 
that they were challenged in putting staff through training because 
staffing shortfalls force the ports to choose between performing port 
operations and providing training. For example, at one land port of 
entry we visited, managers stated that courses are scheduled, but then 
canceled because of staffing concerns. CBP managers at headquarters 
recognize that untrained officers increase the potential of failed 
inspections. Standards for internal control in the federal government 
provide a framework for agencies to achieve effective and efficient 
operations and ultimately to improve accountability. One of the 
standards calls on agencies to compare actual performance to planned or 
expected results throughout the organization and to analyze significant 
differences. However, CBP lacks data that show whether the individuals 
who require training are receiving it. Having reliable data to measure 
the degree to which training has been delivered would put CBP 
management in a position to better gauge the results of its training 
program. In regards to on-the-job training, while CBP guidance states 
that new officers at land ports of entry should receive 12 weeks of on- 
the-job training, new officers at the ports we visited did not receive 
12 weeks of training. For example, at one port of entry, new officers 
told us they received between 2 weeks and 6 weeks of on-the-job 
training. In addition, internal control standards related to management 
of human capital state that management should ensure that the 
organization has a workforce that has the required skills necessary to 
achieve organizational goals. CBP's guidance for its on-the-job 
training program does not require that new CBP officers perform certain 
tasks in order to develop needed skills or that the officers 
demonstrate proficiency in specific tasks. In contrast, the U.S. Border 
Patrol, another office within CBP, has developed a field training 
program where officers are required to demonstrate proficiency in 32 
different skills. We discussed the utility of the Border Patrol's on- 
the-job training standards with CBP officials who told us that they 
might examine the Border Patrol's program to identify best practices 
that they could incorporate into the on-the-job training program for 
new CBP officers. When staff do not receive required training or are 
not trained consistent with program guidance, it limits knowledge 
building and increases the risk that needed expertise is not developed. 

CBP has developed strategic goals that call for, among other things, 
establishing ports of entry where threats are deterred and inadmissible 
people and goods are intercepted--a key goal related to traveler 
inspections--but it faces challenges in developing a performance 
measure that tracks progress in achieving this goal. Linking 
performance to strategic goals and objectives and publicly reporting 
this information is important so that Congress and the public have 
better information about agency performance and to help to ensure 
accountability. While CBP's 2006 Performance and Accountability Report 
included some performance measures related to CBP's goal of 
intercepting inadmissible people and goods, the report did not include 
a performance measure regarding how effective CBP is at achieving this 
goal at ports of entry. As discussed above, CBP has data on the degree 
to which it interdicts travelers who seek to enter the country 
illegally or who violate other laws at major air and land ports of 
entry. During the course of our review, we discussed with CBP officials 
the potential of using these data as one way of measuring the 
effectiveness of CBP inspection efforts. In June 2007, CBP officials 
told us that CBP was in the process of selecting performance measures 
for fiscal year 2008 and a decision had not yet been made on whether to 
include these data or other similar outcome-based measures in its 
performance report. 

We made a number of recommendations to the Secretary of DHS to help 
address weaknesses in traveler inspections, challenges in training, and 
problems with using performance data. These recommendations cover such 
matters as improving internal controls for its traveler inspections at 
ports of entry, developing data that measure whether officers who 
require training are receiving it and establishing procedures for its 
on-the job training program that call on officers to perform specific 
tasks and measure officer proficiency in performing those tasks, and 
formalizing a performance measure that shows how effective CBP is in 
intercepting inadmissible people and goods at ports of entry. 

In commenting on a draft of the For Official Use Only version of this 
report, DHS said it agreed with our recommendations and discussed 
actions CBP has underway or has taken to address our recommendations. 
Written comments from DHS are in Appendix III. 

Background: 

CBP is the lead federal agency charged with keeping terrorists, 
criminals, and inadmissible aliens out of the country while 
facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and commerce at the nation's 
borders. CBP has three main components that have border security 
responsibilities. First, CBP's Office of Field Operations is 
responsible for processing the flow of people and goods that enter the 
country through air, land, and sea ports of entry where CBP officers 
inspect travelers and goods to determine whether they may be legally 
admitted into the country. Second, CBP's Border Patrol works to prevent 
the illegal entry of persons and contraband into the United States 
between the ports of entry. The Border Patrol is responsible for 
controlling nearly 7,000 miles of the nation's land borders between 
ports of entry and 95,000 miles of maritime border in partnership with 
the United States Coast Guard. Third, CBP's Office of Air and Marine 
helps to protect the nation's critical infrastructure through the 
coordinated use of an integrated force of air and marine resources and 
provides mission support to the other CBP components. For fiscal year 
2007, CBP had a $9.3 billion budget, of which $2.5 billion was for 
border security and trade facilitation at ports of entry.[Footnote 12] 

In carrying out its responsibilities, CBP operates 326 official ports 
of entry, composed of airports, seaports, and designated land ports of 
entry along the northern and southern borders.[Footnote 13] Ports of 
entry vary considerably in size and volume, including diverse locations 
such as major airports like New York's John F. Kennedy (JFK) 
International Airport, and the busiest land crossing in the United 
States at San Ysidro, California, which processes over 17 million 
vehicles a year (see fig. 1); small ports in remote rural locations 
along the Canadian border that process only a few thousand vehicles 
every year; and seaports like the Port of Miami where cruise ships 
transport more than 3 million travelers into and out of the country 
each year. Most ports of entry are land border crossings located along 
the northern border with Canada or the southern border with 
Mexico.[Footnote 14] The four largest land border ports of entry by 
traveler volume are at San Ysidro, Calexico, and Otay Mesa in 
California, and the Bridge of Americas in El Paso, Texas. In total, 
these four ports process about 27 percent of all travelers who enter 
the country by land. 

Figure 1: Vehicle Lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry: 

This figure is a photograph of vehicle lanes at Say Ysidro port of 
entry. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

CBP annually processes over 400 million passenger and pedestrian 
entries,[Footnote 15] 20 million containers, and 130 million 
conveyances[Footnote 16] through ports of entry. In fiscal year 2005, 
the most recent year for which traveler data are available by mode of 
entry, land border crossings were by far the busiest for processing 
people, with about three out of four entries into the country occurring 
through a land port of entry (see fig. 2).[Footnote 17] 

Figure 2: Border Crossings at Ports of Entry in Fiscal Year 2005: 

This figure is a pie chart listing border crossings at ports of entry 
in fiscal year 2005. 

Land: 3,765,246: 74%; 
Air: 86, 123,406: 20%; 
Sea: 26, 228, 248. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: CBP. 

[End of figure] 

Process for Inspecting Travelers Differs between Air and Land Ports of 
Entry: 

The process for inspecting travelers at airports is significantly 
different than the process at land ports of entry. Prior to departure 
from foreign airports, airline carriers electronically submit passenger 
manifest information to CBP. CBP officers cross-check passengers 
against a wide range of law enforcement databases before travelers 
enter the country. Upon arrival in the United States, international 
airline passengers are first subject to immigration inspections that 
check visas, passports, and biometric data (see fig. 3). Generally, 
international passengers arriving by air must present a U.S. passport, 
permanent resident card, foreign passport, or a foreign passport 
containing a visa issued by the Department of State. CBP officers may 
also inspect the luggage of travelers. 

Figure 3: Arriving International Passengers Awaiting CBP Inspection at 
JFK International Airport: 

This figure is a photograph of arriving international passengers 
awaiting CBP inspection at JFK International Airport. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

CBP faces a much greater challenge to identify and screen individuals 
at land ports of entry, in part because of the lack of advance traveler 
information and the high volume of traffic at many locations. Unlike 
travelers who enter the country at airports, travelers entering through 
land ports of entry can arrive at virtually any time and may present 
thousands of different forms of documentation, ranging from oral 
declarations of U.S. or Canadian citizenship, driver's licenses, birth 
certificates,[Footnote 18] passports, visas, permanent resident cards, 
or U.S. military identity cards. Travelers entering the country by bus 
or rail must provide documentation and may be subject to further 
inspection. CBP has implemented measures to help provide advance 
information on passengers arriving at land ports of entry, including 
trusted traveler programs that register frequent, low-risk travelers 
for expedited entry, and license plate readers that match license plate 
numbers against law enforcement databases. 

Traveler Inspection Policies and Procedures Call for Establishing 
Citizenship and Admissibility: 

The Immigration and Nationality Act,[Footnote 19] implementing 
regulations,[Footnote 20] and CBP policies and procedures for traveler 
inspection at all ports of entry require officers to establish, at a 
minimum, the nationality of individuals and whether they are eligible 
to enter the country. The first requirement is for the CBP officer to 
determine if the person is a U.S. citizen or an alien, and if an alien, 
establish whether the person meets the criteria for admission into the 
country. Current documentation requirements for entry into the country 
vary depending on the nationality of the traveler and the mode of 
entry. For example, U.S. citizens arriving at land ports of entry 
currently may seek to establish citizenship to a CBP officer through an 
oral declaration of citizenship. In general, nonimmigrant 
aliens[Footnote 21] arriving at land and air ports of entry must 
present a valid, unexpired passport as well as, depending on country of 
origin and intended length of stay in the United States, a valid, 
unexpired visa issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate for entry into the 
country. As most travelers attempting to enter the country through 
ports of entry have a legal basis for doing so, a streamlined screening 
procedure referred to as a primary inspection is used to process those 
individuals who can be readily identified as admissible. Persons whose 
admissibility cannot be readily determined and persons selected as part 
of a random selection process are subjected to a more detailed review 
called a secondary inspection. This involves a closer inspection of 
travel documents and possessions, additional questioning by CBP 
officers, and cross references through multiple law enforcement 
databases to verify the traveler's identity, background, purpose for 
entering the country, and other corroborating information. At the end 
of this process, the individual may be admitted, refused entry and 
returned to the country of origin, or detained while admissibility is 
subject to further review. 

Transforming the Role of CBP Officers Is a Work in Progress: 

As part of the original reorganization plan for border security, DHS 
found that having border security and inspections performed by three 
separate legacy agencies with different priorities, conflicting 
policies, and varying leadership structures had led to inconsistent 
inspections and gaps in the sharing of information between these 
agencies. As part of its actions to address these concerns, in March 
2003, DHS created CBP by merging employees from the three legacy 
agencies previously responsible for border security.[Footnote 22] Among 
other considerations, DHS formed CBP to establish a unified command 
structure that was intended to reduce duplication of efforts while 
improving the sharing of information. For operations at ports of entry, 
in September 2003 CBP issued its plan for consolidating the inspection 
functions formerly performed by separate inspectors from the three 
legacy agencies. The plan, referred to as "One Face at the Border," 
called for unifying and integrating the legacy inspectors into two new 
positions--a CBP officer and a CBP agricultural specialist.[Footnote 
23] The new CBP officer would serve as the frontline officer 
responsible for carrying out the priority anti-terrorism mission as 
well as the traditional customs and immigration inspection functions, 
while also identifying and referring goods in need of a more extensive 
agricultural inspection to the agricultural specialist. CBP anticipated 
that having a well-trained and well-integrated workforce that could 
carry out the complete range of inspection functions involving the 
processing of individuals and goods would allow it to utilize its 
inspection resources more effectively and enable it to better target 
potentially high-risk travelers.[Footnote 24] Together, CBP envisioned 
the result to be more effective inspections and enhanced security at 
ports of entry while also accelerating the processing of legitimate 
trade and travel. 

While it has been about 4 years since the formation of DHS and CBP, our 
prior work on mergers and acquisitions found that it generally takes 5 
to 7 years to successfully complete such a transformation. For example, 
GAO designated DHS's overall transformation as a high-risk area in 2003 
based on three factors. First, DHS faced a formidable task in 
implementing a transformation process that would effectively combine 22 
disparate agencies with an estimated 170,000 employees into one 
department. Second, many of these agencies were facing their own 
challenges in management areas such as strategic human capital, 
information technology, and financial management; thus, DHS inherited a 
host of operational and management challenges from the beginning. 
Third, DHS's national security mission is critically important and 
failure to effectively address its management challenges and program 
risks could have serious consequences for national security as well as 
have major economic impacts.[Footnote 25] CBP, as part of DHS, faces 
many similar challenges in its efforts to unify three agencies into one 
and in transforming the role of its officers. For example, with over 
40,000 employees, CBP represented the largest merger of people and 
functions within DHS. Additionally, our prior work on the Immigration 
and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Customs Service, two of the 
primary agencies involved in the merger, showed that these agencies 
experienced many management challenges before their merger into CBP. 
Finally, like DHS, CBP' has a primary mission of preventing terrorist 
attacks that is critical to national security. 

CBP Has Had Some Success in Interdicting Inadmissible Aliens and Other 
Violators, but It Still Needs to Overcome Weaknesses in Its Traveler 
Inspections and Physical Infrastructure: 

CBP has had some success in identifying inadmissible aliens and other 
violators. In fiscal year 2006, CBP successfully caught tens of 
thousands of violators and it made security improvements at its ports 
of entry, such as installing new cargo inspection technology. 
Nevertheless, the agency faces major challenges in overcoming 
weaknesses in both traveler inspections and physical infrastructure. In 
regards to traveler inspections, at our request, CBP officials showed 
us a videotape that identified numerous examples of officers not 
establishing the nationality of individuals and their eligibility for 
entering the country as required by law. CBP took action in the summer 
of 2006 to address the problems by holding high-level management 
meetings and delivering training on traveler inspections to its 
officers. However, we later found that CBP's initial set of corrective 
actions did not always address the problems and we found similar 
problems as those on the videotape. CBP issued new policies and 
procedures to overcome these inspection weaknesses at its land ports of 
entry including requiring field office directors to conduct assessments 
to ensure compliance with these new inspection procedures. However, the 
policies and procedures do not require that field office directors 
share their assessment results with CBP headquarters management, which 
may hinder its ability to use the information to overcome weaknesses in 
traveler inspections and to identify best practices that may occur 
during implementation of its new policies and procedures. CBP faces a 
challenge in addressing physical infrastructure weaknesses at land 
ports of entry in a timely way because some ports are owned by other 
governmental or private entities, potentially adding to the time needed 
to agree on infrastructure changes and put them in place. 

CBP Has Had Some Success Identifying Inadmissible Aliens and Other 
Violators: 

CBP has identified and interdicted thousands of potentially dangerous 
people and significant amounts of illegal goods at ports of entry. 
According to CBP, in fiscal year 2006, CBP officers arrested more than 
23,000 suspected criminals, denied entry to over 200,000 inadmissible 
aliens, seized more than 644,000 pounds of illegal drugs,[Footnote 26] 
intercepted nearly 1.7 million prohibited agricultural items, and 
seized over $155 million in illegal commercial merchandise, such as 
counterfeit footwear and handbags. CBP officers also intercepted 40,362 
fraudulent documents used in attempts to enter the country illegally in 
fiscal year 2006. Over half (21,292) of the fraudulent documents 
intercepted by CBP involved the alteration or improper use of travel 
documents issued by the U.S Department of State. About 80 percent of 
these documents involved impostors--that is, people using authentic, 
unaltered documents that had been validly issued to another person. The 
remaining 20 percent attempted to enter with fraudulent documents that 
were altered in some way, such as a fake or altered U.S. visa, or were 
entirely counterfeit.[Footnote 27] 

CBP's success in identifying inadmissible aliens and other violators 
has been enhanced by several new initiatives and programs that aim to 
further improve security at ports of entry. They include the following: 

* New cargo inspection technology. According to CBP, it has installed 
nonintrusive inspection technologies at ports of entry that enable 
officers to rapidly inspect vehicles and truck containers for 
inadmissible aliens and other violators, nuclear or radiological 
weapons, or other contraband (see fig. 4). Other nonintrusive 
technologies, such as radiation detectors, allow CBP to inspect 
containerized truck and sea cargo without having to perform a time- 
intensive manual search or other intrusive examinations of the 
contents. 

Figure 4: CBP Technology Used to Screen Commercial Trucks: 

This figure is a photograph of technology used to screen commercial 
trucks. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

* Additional requirements for screening passengers. To improve its 
ability to target high-risk individuals that are on international 
flights bound for the United States, CBP in fiscal year 2007, issued a 
ruling that requires airlines provide passenger manifest information 
prior to departure. These data are critical in screening passengers 
against watch lists and other databases and identifying potentially 
dangerous individuals attempting to enter the United States. 

CBP also expanded the entry capability of the U.S. Visitor and 
Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program to a total of 
116 airports, 15 seaports, and 154 land ports of entry. Through this 
program, CBP is able to collect, maintain, and share data, including 
biometric identifiers like digital fingerprints, on selected foreign 
nationals entering the United States to verify their identities as they 
arrive at air, sea, and land ports of entry.[Footnote 28] CBP also uses 
these data to screen persons against watch lists and other law 
enforcement databases to determine their eligibility to enter the 
country. 

* Prescreening programs for low-risk travelers. As part of CBP efforts 
to facilitate legitimate trade and travel, CBP has implemented several 
initiatives to increase enrollment in its trusted traveler programs, 
such as the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers' Rapid Inspection 
(SENTRI) program on the southern border and the NEXUS program on the 
northern border. These programs allow registered border residents and 
frequent cross-border travelers identified as low-risk individuals 
access to dedicated lanes and expedited processing with minimal 
inspection (see fig. 5). Participants undergo a thorough background 
check, a fingerprint law enforcement check, and a personal interview 
with a CBP officer. Enrollment in these two programs totaled nearly 
260,000 members in fiscal year 2007. In addition, as part of an 
initiative among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, CBP operates a 
trusted traveler program called the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) 
program, for truck companies involved in transporting cargo through 
land ports of entry. Participants in FAST have access to dedicated 
lanes as well as reduced number of examinations. In 2006, CBP certified 
124 new commercial partners and approved over 8,000 new drivers to 
participate in the program, bringing total FAST enrollment to 84,000 
participants. 

Figure 5: NEXUS Lane at a Port of Entry: 

This is figure is a photograph of NEXUS lane at a port of entry. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

* Automated license plate and document readers. CBP has also increased 
deployment of automated license plate and document readers at land 
ports of entry. License plate readers automatically read front and rear 
license plates of vehicles as they enter the primary inspection area, 
with the data simultaneously queried against CBP and law enforcement 
databases (see fig. 6). In addition, CBP has installed document readers 
that electronically read documents, such as passports or border 
crossing cards, that allow CBP officers to automatically query law 
enforcement databases. With these readers in place, CBP officers spend 
less time manually inputting information, thereby reducing inspection 
times, improving the accuracy of the collected information, and 
affording the officers the ability to interact more with vehicle 
occupants. 

Figure 6: License Plate Reader at a Port of Entry: 

This figure is a photograph of a license plate reader at a port of 
entry. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

Improvements Notwithstanding, CBP Acknowledges that It Did Not 
Apprehend All Inadmissible Aliens and Other Violators: 

While CBP has had some success in interdicting inadmissible aliens and 
other violators, CBP acknowledges that it did not apprehend all 
inadmissible aliens and other violators who sought to enter the country 
at air and land ports of entry. CBP's estimates of how many 
inadmissible aliens and other violators evade detection are based on a 
sample of travelers who arrive at land and air ports of entry. This 
program, called Compliance Examination (COMPEX), randomly selects 
travelers entering the country for more detailed inspections.[Footnote 
29] CBP carries out this program at air and land ports of entry. At 
land ports, CBP randomly selects vehicles and conducts more detailed 
inspections of the vehicles and possessions of the traveler. At 
airports, CBP supervisors randomly select travelers. In both cases, the 
program is designed to select travelers who would not normally be 
referred to a secondary inspection and would therefore be allowed to 
enter the country. On the basis of the extent to which violations are 
found in the in-depth inspections, CBP estimates the total number of 
inadmissible aliens and other violators who seek to enter the country 
at locations where COMPEX is carried out.[Footnote 30] CBP then 
calculates an apprehension rate by comparing the number of violators it 
actually apprehends with the estimated number of violators that 
attempted entry.[Footnote 31] Using COMPEX, CBP estimates that several 
thousand inadmissible aliens and other violators entered the country 
through air and land ports of entry in fiscal year 2006.[Footnote 32] 

Weaknesses in How Well Inspection Procedures Were Followed Increased 
the Potential of Illegal Entry: 

Weaknesses in how well inspection procedures were followed increased 
the potential that inadmissible aliens and other violators successfully 
entered the country. In the summer of 2006, CBP reviewed hundreds of 
hours of video from 150 large and small land ports of entry and 
determined that while CBP officers carried out thorough traveler 
inspections in many instances, they also identified numerous examples 
where officers did not comply with inspection requirements, according 
to CBP officials. At our request, CBP officials showed us a 15-minute 
video that CBP had prepared that documented noncompliance with 
inspection requirements. The following were examples of weaknesses that 
were on the video: 

* In one instance, officers waved vehicles into the United States 
without stopping the vehicle or interviewing the driver or its 
passengers as required. In another instance, motorcycles passed through 
inspection lanes without stopping and making any contact with an 
officer. In a third instance, during "lane switches" when CBP officers 
were relieved of their duty and replaced by other officers, officers 
waved traffic through the lane while the officer logged into the 
computer. The proper procedure is for traffic to be stopped until the 
officer is logged into the system and is available to perform proper 
inspections. 

* In another instance, while the CBP officer was reviewing information 
on his computer screen, he waved pedestrians through the lane without 
looking at them, making verbal contact, or inspecting travel documents. 
In another instance, travelers would simply hold up their 
identification cards and officers would view them without stepping out 
of the booth before waving the vehicle through. In these cases, the 
officers did not appear to make verbal contact with the passengers and 
did not interview any passengers sitting in the back seat of the 
vehicle. As a final example, officers did not board recreational 
vehicles to determine whether additional traveler inspections should be 
carried out. 

Without checking the identity, citizenship, and admissibility of 
travelers, there is an increased potential that dangerous people and 
inadmissible goods may enter the country and cause harm to American 
citizens and the economy. According to CBP interviews with apprehended 
alien smugglers, alien smuggling organizations have been aware of 
weaknesses in CBP's inspection procedures and they have trained 
operatives to take advantage of these weaknesses. This awareness 
heightens the potential that failed inspections will occur at ports of 
entry when such procedural weaknesses exist. 

According to CBP senior management, the factors that may have 
contributed to these weaknesses included the following: 

* Failure to engage, lack of focus, and complacency. According to CBP 
senior management, emphasis is not being placed on all missions, and 
there is a failure by some of its officers to recognize the threat 
associated with dangerous people and goods entering the country. 

* Insufficient staffing. According to CBP senior management, they are 
unable to staff ports of entry to sufficiently accommodate the 
workload. Lack of sufficient staff contributes to officers working 
double shifts, sometimes resulting in fatigue that can affect 
decisions.[Footnote 33] 

* Lack of supervisory presence in primary inspections. CBP senior 
management noted that lack of supervisory presence at primary 
inspection booths can contribute to less than optimal inspections. 

* Lack of training. CBP senior management acknowledged that, in some 
cases, periodic and on-the-job training is not being delivered. 

CBP Is Taking Action to Address Inspection Weaknesses, but Challenges 
Remain: 

CBP has taken action to address weaknesses in its inspection procedures 
by renewing its emphasis on the need to improve inspections at ports of 
entry and by revising traveler inspection policies and procedures. In 
July 2006, CBP headquarters showed field office directors the 15-minute 
videotape that documented the type of noncompliant inspections that 
were taking place at land ports of entry. CBP management emphasized the 
importance of thorough inspection procedures at all ports of entry, 
including airports and seaports, by requesting field office directors 
to review current procedures and identify best practices for more 
thorough inspections. As requested by the Assistant Commissioner of 
Field Operations, the field office directors conducted a series of 
meetings with senior port management to review and evaluate their 
ports' performance, make corrections where necessary, and identify best 
practices when inspecting travelers. Through efforts such as these, CBP 
managers identified best practices that included (1) increased 
supervisory presence in primary inspection areas; (2) detailing 
specific steps that should be conducted during primary inspections, 
such as interviewing travelers and conducting thorough document review 
(e.g., handling and inspecting documents); and (3) personal visits to 
ports of entry by directors and managers. 

CBP also revised its policies and procedures for traveler inspections 
at land ports of entry to deal with weaknesses that were 
identified.[Footnote 34] In July 2007, CBP issued new policies and 
procedures for inspecting travelers at land ports of entry, including 
pedestrians and those who enter by vehicle. Among other things, the 
policies and procedures call on officers to obtain photo identification 
for all travelers in a vehicle and match the traveler with the 
photograph.[Footnote 35] In doing so, the CBP officer is required to 
obtain a declaration of citizenship, either in the form of travel 
documents, such as passports, or in the case of a U.S. citizen or 
Canadian citizen, an oral statement. To the extent possible, officers 
are required to query law enforcement databases for all travelers in a 
vehicle. The new policies identify roles and responsibilities of CBP 
officials at ports of entry, including directors of field offices, port 
directors, supervisory CBP officers, as well as CBP officers. In the 
near future, CBP officials are also planning to issue new policies and 
procedures for processing cargo at land borders and for inspecting 
travelers who enter the country at airports and seaports. 

However, issuing new policies and procedures alone does not ensure they 
will be carried out. For example, after CBP headquarters issued 
directives, held musters, and issued memorandums to field office and 
port managers that emphasized the importance of carrying out improved 
traveler inspections in July 2006, many of the same weaknesses they 
attempted to deal with continued to exist at ports of entry we visited. 
In October 2006 and January 2007, or as much as 5 months after managers 
informed officers of the need to carry out traveler inspections in a 
more rigorous way by interviewing travelers and examining their travel 
documents, our investigators identified weaknesses in traveler 
inspections that were similar to those identified in CBP's 15-minute 
video. At several ports of entry, our investigators found that a CBP 
officer was not staffing the booth when they arrived for inspection. At 
other locations, CBP officers did not ask for travel documents from our 
investigators. For example, at one port, when our investigators arrived 
at the port of entry, one of them called over to three officers who 
were seated at desks behind a counter about ten feet away. One of the 
officers asked our investigator if he was a U.S. citizen and the 
investigator said "yes." The CBP officers did not get up from their 
desks to ask for any identification, asked no other question, and 
allowed our investigator to enter the country.[Footnote 36] At another 
port of entry, a CBP officer was not present at the primary inspection 
booth when our investigator arrived for inspection and he had to wait 
approximately 3 to 4 minutes before an officer arrived. 

While CBP's new policies and procedures are a step in the right 
direction, ensuring their proper implementation will be key to 
overcoming weaknesses in traveler inspections. An effective internal 
control environment is a key method to help agency managers achieve 
program objectives and enhance their ability to address identified 
weaknesses. CBP is taking positive steps to implement some control 
requirements. For example, one of the standards for internal control in 
the federal government involves monitoring to assess the quality of 
performance over time. To monitor how traveler inspections are 
conducted at ports of entry, CBP headquarters has developed a program 
to covertly test the integrity of existing security measures at ports 
of entry, including the work carried out by CBP officers. In addition, 
CBP headquarters officials are called on to conduct compliance reviews. 
Last, CBP's new policies and procedures on traveler inspections call on 
field office directors to ensure compliance with the new inspection 
procedures at all ports of entry by conducting audits and assessments. 
Internal control standards state that information should be 
communicated to management to enable it to carry out its program 
responsibilities. However, CBP does not require that field offices 
share the results of their audits and assessments with CBP headquarters 
management. Without obtaining and receiving the results of field office 
audits and assessments, CBP management may be hindered in its ability 
to efficiently use the information to overcome weaknesses in traveler 
inspections and identify best practices that may occur during 
implementation of its new policies and procedures. 

Querying all travelers arriving at land ports of entry against CBP law 
enforcement databases represents a major challenge for CBP. As 
discussed earlier in this report, CBP's new policies and procedures 
require officers, to the extent feasible, to query travel documents of 
all travelers who arrive at primary inspection at land ports of entry. 
In contrast, CBP officers at airports generally handle and query 
documents of all travelers. Taking the time to enter information into 
CBP's law enforcement database for the several hundred million 
travelers arriving at primary inspection could hinder CBP's ability to 
facilitate the movement of legitimate travel and commerce. 

DHS's planned Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, when implemented at 
land ports of entry, may allow CBP to query more travelers against law 
enforcement databases and could improve CBP's ability to identify 
inadmissible aliens and other violators without harming commerce and 
travel. The initiative generally requires travelers to have a passport 
or passport-like document to enter the United States from Canada, 
Mexico, and other countries in the western hemisphere that is machine- 
readable and therefore can be more quickly and accurately checked 
against CBP's law enforcement database than currently acceptable 
documents. CBP has already implemented the initiative at air ports of 
entry, but has yet to do so at land ports of entry. When the initiative 
is implemented at land ports of entry, CBP officers may be able to 
query more documents because DHS estimates that processing a traveler 
at primary inspection will be reduced by 15 to 25 seconds because all 
travelers will have documents that will be machine readable. 

Problems with Physical Infrastructure Increase the Risk That Vehicles 
Could Bypass Land Ports of Entry: 

CBP's effectiveness at securing the nation's borders depends not only 
on the quality of traveler inspections, but also on the degree to which 
physical infrastructure is in place to reduce the risk that 
inadmissible aliens and other violators could bypass inspection points 
and enter the country. During our site visits, we identified weaknesses 
in physical infrastructure at some land ports of entry.[Footnote 37] 

Making Changes to Address Physical Infrastructure Weaknesses at Land 
Ports of Entry Can Be Challenging: 

CBP has developed a process to identify and prioritize capital 
infrastructure needs at land ports of entry. One component of this 
planning process is called the Strategic Resource Assessment--an 
assessment that identifies capital needs at ports of entry by 
evaluating existing facility conditions, predicting future workload 
trends, performing space capacity analyses, and estimating costs for 
the recommended options. CBP's Office of Finance has compiled resource 
assessments for 163 land crossings and has prioritized the ports with 
the greatest need. On the basis of the assessments, CBP estimates that 
the cost of making capital improvements at land crossings totals about 
$4 billion. In addition, the assessments identify a planning process to 
ensure that funding is allocated in a systematic and objective manner. 

While CBP has made progress in identifying its capital needs, making 
infrastructure changes to address the problems is not always easy, 
according to CBP officials responsible for infrastructure improvements. 
For example, these senior CBP officials noted that they do not have the 
discretion to make infrastructure improvements on their own, such as 
installing barriers and bollards, when they do not own the property and 
therefore need to coordinate their efforts with other entities, such as 
private bridge commissions or state highway departments. For capital 
improvements at ports of entry, such as building new vehicle lanes or 
secondary inspection facilities, the CBP officials said the lead time 
for making such improvements was long. For example, according to these 
CBP officials, for the 96 ports of entry that are owned by the General 
Services Administration (GSA), GSA approves and prioritizes capital 
improvement projects. The process of submitting a request for an 
infrastructure improvement and completion of the project is 
approximately 7 years from start to finish, according to a GSA 
official. For the 23 ports of entry that are privately owned and leased 
by GSA,[Footnote 38] CBP officials noted that coordinating with 
privately owned companies on infrastructure improvements is a difficult 
process because the private owner's interest in facilitating commerce 
must be balanced with CBP's interest in national security. According to 
CBP officials, the degree to which improvements will be made at land 
ports of entry and how long it will take depend on available funding 
and the results of discussions with various stakeholders, such as GSA 
and private port owners. Each year, depending upon funding 
availability, CBP submits its proposed capital improvement projects 
based upon the prioritized list it has developed. As of September 2007, 
CBP had infrastructure projects related to 20 different ports of entry 
in various stages of development, according to a CBP official. 

Progress Being Made, but Challenges Still Exist in CBP Officer Staffing 
and Training: 

CBP has taken action to improve staffing and training at ports of entry 
by assessing staffing needs, adding staff, and developing an extensive 
training program, but it faces challenges in hiring and retaining staff 
and providing required training. To address staffing, CBP developed a 
staffing model to identify the resources needed at the nation's ports 
of entry. While CBP has had a net increase of about 1,000 more staff 
since 2005, the results of the staffing model indicate that CBP may 
need additional officers at ports. Not having sufficient staff 
contributes to morale problems, fatigue, and safety issues for 
officers. It also makes it difficult for ports of entry to fully carry 
out anti-terrorism and other traveler inspection programs. The problems 
are exacerbated by difficulties in retaining experienced staff. 
Regarding training, CBP has made progress in developing 37 training 
modules for CBP officers and a national on-the-job training program for 
new officers. While it has delivered training to thousands of CBP 
officers, CBP faces challenges in (1) delivering the required training 
modules to those who need it and (2) providing on-the-job training to 
new CBP officers consistent with national program guidance. When staff 
do not receive required training or are not trained consistently with 
program guidance, it limits knowledge building and increases the risk 
that needed expertise is not developed. Senior CBP headquarters 
officials also stated that the lack of training and training that is 
inconsistently delivered may increase the risk that terrorists, 
inadmissible travelers, and illicit goods could be admitted into the 
country. 

Staffing Shortfalls and Retention Problems Exist at Ports of Entry: 

Congressional concern about CBP's ability to link resources to its 
mission led Congress to call on CBP to develop resource allocation 
models. In responding to language in the conference report for the 
fiscal year 2007 DHS appropriations[Footnote 39] and the SAFE Port Act 
of 2006,[Footnote 40] CBP developed a staffing model for its land, air, 
and sea ports of entry. The conference report directed CBP to develop 
the staffing model in a way that would align officer resources with 
threats, vulnerabilities, and workload. This directive stemmed, in 
part, from concern about CBP's ability to effectively manage its 
growing workload, minimize wait times, and ensure that CBP officers 
receive adequate training in all relevant inspection functions. The 
staffing model is designed to determine the optimum number of CBP 
officers that each port of entry needs in order to accomplish its 
mission responsibilities. According to CBP staff involved in developing 
the staffing model, it is primarily driven by traveler volume and 
inspection processing times. The staffing model also incorporates 
assumptions for training, anti-terrorism activities, and staffing for 
special equipment, such as radiation portal monitors.[Footnote 41] 
According to CBP officials, the model's assumptions will be 
recalculated each fiscal year in order to account for changes caused by 
new requirements, procedures, or changes in workload. For example, when 
the new inspection requirements come into effect under the Western 
Hemisphere Travel Initiative, CBP can adjust the processing times in 
the staffing model, which may result in changes in the number of staff 
needed,[Footnote 42] according to CBP officials. CBP plans to use the 
staffing model to help management decide on the number of staff needed 
and where they should be deployed. 

In July 2007, CBP provided us with the results for the staffing 
model.[Footnote 43] The model's results showed that CBP would need up 
to several thousand additional CBP officers and agricultural 
specialists at its ports of entry. In addition, the staffing model 
showed the relative need among different CBP locations. CBP has 
determined that data from the staffing model are law enforcement 
sensitive. Therefore, we are not providing more detailed data and 
information from the model in this report. 

The staffing model was not finalized in time to prepare CBP's fiscal 
year 2008 budget request. CBP officials told us that they plan to use 
the results of the staffing model to determine which locations are to 
receive additional staffing in fiscal year 2008, should Congress 
approve their request for additional positions. 

CBP Cites Insufficient Staffing as an Impediment to Traveler Inspection 
Efforts: 

Before the staffing model was finalized, CBP used other data to 
determine staffing needs and provide an indication of the degree to 
which insufficient staffing affects operations at ports of entry. CBP's 
20 field offices and its pre-clearance headquarters office requested 
additional officers through quarterly resource assessment reports that 
quantified perceived staffing needs and provided justifications for the 
request. CBP used the quarterly resource assessment reports to help 
determine the number of officers to allocate to each office, but the 
majority of the requests went unfilled due, in part, to budget 
constraints. In January 2007, 19 of CBP's 21 offices identified a need 
for additional officers to accomplish their anti-terrorism 
responsibilities through special operations and anti-terrorism teams; 
operate new equipment, such as radiation portal monitors and non- 
intrusive inspection technologies, both of which are relatively new 
additions to CBP's mission responsibilities; and to deal with increased 
workload from increased traveler volume and the expansion of primary 
inspection lanes and other facilities. 

Managers, supervisors, and officers at seven of the eight ports of 
entry that we visited provided examples of how insufficient staffing 
affects their ability to carry out primary and secondary inspections: 

Anti-terrorism and other traveler inspection programs are not fully 
carried out. CBP uses a "layered" enforcement approach when it inspects 
travelers.[Footnote 44] In implementing this approach, port officials 
told us that when possible, they perform enforcement operations that 
include anti-terrorism teams and canine inspections (see fig. 7). While 
considered discretionary, according to CBP officials, these inspections 
can result in significant numbers of seizures and adverse actions and, 
thus, are a key tool in traveler inspection efforts. For example, one 
port conducted a 30-day pilot project during which it focused its 
efforts on such operations. During this time, CBP officers said they 
apprehended 96 criminals, inadmissible aliens, and other violators who 
were in line for primary inspection. 

Figure 7: Canine Team Inspecting Vehicular Traffic at a Land Port of 
Entry: 

This figure is a photograph of a canine team inspecting vehicular 
traffic at a land port of entry. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO. 

[End of figure] 

Double shifts can result in officer fatigue. Due to staffing shortages, 
ports of entry rely on overtime to accomplish their inspection 
responsibilities. Officers at six of the eight ports of entry we 
visited indicated that officer fatigue caused by excessive overtime 
negatively affected inspections at their ports of entry. On occasion, 
officers said they are called upon to work 16-hour shifts, spending 
long stints in the primary passenger processing lanes in order to keep 
lanes open, in part to minimize traveler wait times.[Footnote 45] 
Further evidence of fatigue came from officers who said that CBP 
officers call in sick due to exhaustion, in part to avoid mandatory 
overtime, which in turn exacerbates the staffing challenges faced by 
the ports. 

CBP Faces Challenges in Retaining Officers: 

CBP's onboard staffing level is below its budgeted level, partly due to 
attrition.[Footnote 46] According to CBP officials at headquarters and 
the ports of entry we visited, the gap between the budgeted staffing 
level and the number of officers onboard is attributable in part to 
high attrition, with ports of entry losing officers faster than they 
can hire replacements. Through March 2007, CBP data show that, on 
average, 52 CBP officers left the agency each 2-week pay period in 
fiscal year 2007, up from 34 officers in fiscal year 2005. Port 
managers at five locations indicated that the rising attrition 
consistently keeps their ports of entry below the budgeted staffing 
level because of the lengthy amount of time--up to a year--that it can 
take to hire and train a new officer. On a case-by-case basis, CBP has 
allowed five field offices to hire above their budgeted staffing levels 
in order to account for the expected attrition before the next hiring 
cycle. For example, one field office was allowed to hire over its 
budgeted staffing level by 100 staff in anticipation of expected 
officer attrition. However, the use of this option is limited and port 
managers stated that attrition still outpaces hiring at such locations. 

Numerous reasons exist for officer attrition. As with other federal 
agencies, officer retirements are taking a toll on the agency's 
workforce. In the next 4 years, over 3,700 CBP officers, or about 20 
percent of CBP's authorized level of 18,530 officers, will become 
eligible for retirement. In addition, according to CBP officials, CBP 
officers are leaving the agency to take positions at other DHS 
components and other federal agencies to obtain law enforcement officer 
benefits not authorized to them at CBP. In fiscal year 2006, about 24 
percent of the officers leaving CBP, or about 339 officers, left for a 
position in another DHS component. Further, extensive overtime, poor 
officer morale, and the high cost of living in certain areas were 
frequently cited by employees who left as reasons for attrition. Our 
analysis of responses by nonsupervisory CBP staff[Footnote 47] to the 
2006 OPM Federal Human Capital Survey[Footnote 48] corroborated that 
they have concerns about efforts to develop staff and agency leadership 
that could contribute to low morale and attrition. See appendix II for 
a more complete analysis of responses by nonsupervisory employees to 
OPM's Federal Human Capital Survey. 

CBP recognizes that attrition of officers is adversely affecting its 
operations and that it must reassess aspects of its human capital 
approach if it is to hire and retain a high-performing, motivated 
workforce. CBP officials told us that CBP is considering a number 
actions including establishing personnel incentive programs, such as a 
tuition reimbursement program. In addition, the Office of Field 
Operations plans to work with CBP's Office of Human Resources 
Management to develop and distribute a personnel satisfaction survey to 
obtain employee feedback so that leadership can better address the 
needs of its workforce. CBP has also revised the exit survey it gives 
to employees prior to their leaving the agency to better assess their 
reasons for leaving and to help CBP identify where it is losing 
employees. CBP plans to analyze data from OPM's Human Capital Survey, 
the employee satisfaction and exit surveys, and attrition data to help 
identify what specific actions CBP may need to take to curb attrition. 
CBP plans to develop some initial retention strategies by December 2008 
and by September 2009 develop approaches to retain staff based on areas 
of concern identified in the employee exit survey. 

Major Cross-Training Program Developed, but Ports of Entry We Visited 
Faced Challenges in Delivering Required Training: 

Starting in 2003, CBP began developing a series of 37 training modules 
aimed at improving the skills of and to cross-train CBP officers in 
carrying out inspections at ports of entry.[Footnote 49] CBP recognized 
the importance of training in transforming the role of its officers, 
and has made officer training a focus of the agency. CBP initiated a 
multiyear cross-training program effort to equip new and legacy 
officers with the tools necessary to perform primary immigration and 
customs inspections, and sufficient knowledge to identify agricultural 
threats in need of further examination by the agricultural specialists. 
For example, through a combination of computer-based "fundamentals" 
courses followed by classroom and on-the-job training, a former customs 
inspector would take training that prepared him or her to conduct 
secondary inspections related to possible immigration 
violations.[Footnote 50] At airports, former customs officers might 
receive instruction so that they could better conduct traveler 
inspections. Legacy immigration officers in air and land ports of entry 
would be trained so that they could work in inspecting baggage or 
vehicles, respectively.[Footnote 51] The program involved developing 
training modules on such topics as anti-terrorism and detecting 
fraudulent documents. Through its efforts, CBP has cross-trained 
thousands of officers since 2004. For example, CBP has trained about 
12,000 staff in the anti-terrorism module. 

In August 2007, CBP officials involved in developing the training 
program at ports of entry told us that CBP is in the process of 
changing its cross-training program. The officials told us that they 
hope to update existing cross-training materials and align them with 
recent changes in policies and procedures. Further, the officials said 
that the new program will be geared toward delivering training that 
provides specific expertise in immigration or customs-related 
inspection activities to new officers or CBP officers transferring to a 
different job function. According to these officials, they will begin 
implementing the program in January 2008. 

Mission Demands Cited as Reason for Challenges in Delivering Cross- 
Training: 

While CBP has made progress in developing training modules and in 
training its officers, CBP managers at seven of the eight ports of 
entry we visited said they had experienced difficulty in providing 
their officers with required training in a timely manner because 
staffing challenges force the ports to choose between performing port 
operations and providing training. In these instances, port of entry 
managers told us that training is often sacrificed. One port of entry 
director stated, "the port is thinking out of the box just to do basic 
functions [and] cannot even begin to focus on training." Managers at 
this port of entry also indicated that training courses are scheduled 
and then canceled because of staffing concerns. At two other ports of 
entry we visited, managers indicated that staffing challenges cause the 
ports of entry to use overtime to fill positions temporarily vacated by 
officers who participate in training. For example, to provide its 
officers with four basic cross-training courses, including a course in 
processing immigration cases, management at one port estimated they 
would need nearly $4 million in overtime--a condition that would make 
the port go over its budget for overtime and add to the problems we 
discussed earlier caused by excessive overtime. 

We also identified examples where ports of entry we visited did not 
consistently provide cross-training courses in the manner expected by 
CBP headquarters. For example, headquarters informed field offices that 
course content may not be shortened. However, according to a CBP 
official at one location, his port of entry trained officers to work in 
the immigration secondary area by pushing officers through a compressed 
5-day version of the course rather than the 9-day version developed by 
headquarters. At another port, new officers we spoke with had not taken 
the immigration course after working for 3 years, even though CBP 
guidance states that new officers should take the course during their 
second year at the port. Challenges in providing training are not new. 
We have previously reported that staffing shortages have affected 
training efforts at ports of entry even before CBP was created in March 
2003.[Footnote 52] 

Insufficient Cross-Training Creates Vulnerabilities in Traveler 
Inspections: 

Managers and supervisors at six of eight ports of entry we visited told 
us that vulnerabilities in traveler inspections occurred when officers 
did not receive cross-training before rotating to new inspection areas. 
Although CBP's training policy calls for no officer to be placed in an 
area without receiving the proper cross-training module, officers and 
supervisors at ports of entry we visited told us that officers are 
placed in situations for which they had not been trained. While we 
cannot determine the degree to which this is happening in other ports 
of entry cross the country, we identified several examples where this 
policy is not being followed at the ports of entry we visited. For 
example, legacy customs officers at one port of entry reported feeling 
ill prepared when called upon to inspect passengers because they had 
not received the requisite training. One supervisor at this port of 
entry stated that he had "no confidence" that the officers he 
supervised could process the casework for a marijuana seizure correctly 
in order to successfully prosecute the violator because they had not 
received training. Supervisors at another port of entry told us that 
they were rotated to areas in which they had not received training. 
With responsibility over admissibility decisions, these supervisors 
were concerned that they could not answer questions from their 
subordinates or make necessary determinations beyond their area of 
expertise. As a result of not being trained, officers at this port 
stated that they relied heavily on senior officers from legacy 
agencies. The officers also told us that these senior officers have 
been leaving the agency. CBP managers in headquarters recognize that 
insufficient training can lead to a higher risk of failed inspections. 
In a presentation that was given to all field office directors, CBP 
headquarters officials stated that untrained officers increase the risk 
that terrorists, inadmissible travelers, and illicit goods could enter 
the country. 

Data for Measuring Progress in Providing Cross-Training Are Not 
Available: 

CBP is attempting to capture information that better reflects whether 
training requirements are being met. In November 2006, CBP's field 
offices submitted their revised training plans indicating how many 
additional officers needed to be cross-trained over the next several 
years. However, CBP officials told us that they do not track 
specifically which officers need to take a particular training module, 
nor do they track whether those officers have received the needed 
training. Without data on which CBP officers need which particular 
cross-training modules and whether they have received the training, CBP 
does not know the extent that its officers have received the necessary 
cross-training and are not in a position to measure progress toward 
achieving its cross-training program goals. 

Standards for internal control in the federal government provide a 
framework for agencies to achieve effective and efficient operations 
and ultimately to improve accountability. One of the standards involves 
having good controls in place to ensure that management's directives 
are carried out. To do so, the standards call on agencies to compare 
actual performance to planned or expected results throughout the 
organization and to analyze significant differences. Having reliable 
data to measure the degree to which training has been delivered to 
those who are required to receive it would help meet this standard and 
put CBP management in a position to better gauge the results of its 
cross-training program. 

On-the-Job Training Program for New CBP Officers Faces Implementation 
Challenges at Ports of Entry We Visited: 

In addition to developing cross-training modules for its officers, CBP 
also has an on-the-job training program for new officers once they 
arrive at a port of entry.[Footnote 53] In a July 2003 report on 
inspections at land border ports of entry, we recommended that CBP 
develop and implement a field training program for new officers before 
they independently conduct inspections.[Footnote 54] In response to 
this recommendation, CBP issued guidance for on-the-job training of new 
CBP officers. According to the guidance, new officers should receive up 
to 12 and 14 weeks of on-the-job training at land and air ports of 
entry, respectively. The guidance provides an outline of the type of 
experiences that a port of entry needs to provide to an officer as part 
of the on-the-job training program, such as reviewing emergency port of 
entry procedures and computer systems used in primary inspections. 

However, at seven of the eight ports of entry we visited officials told 
us that they had difficulty in providing on-the-job training in 
compliance with the guidance. For example: 

* Management at one land port of entry stated that it could not provide 
12 weeks of on-the-job training to its new officers because of 
workload, budget, and staffing challenges, but indicated that it tried 
to provide 6 weeks of on-the-job training. CBP officers at another port 
of entry told us that the length of their on-the-job training varied 
from 2 weeks to 6 weeks and they told us that they needed more on-the- 
job training before inspecting travelers on their own. 

* CBP's on-the-job training guidance recommends, but does not require, 
new officers receive 3 weeks of the training under close supervision of 
a coach or field training officer in order to receive direct guidance 
and feedback in their performance. However, officials at seven of the 
ports of entry we visited said that their port of entry had difficulty 
providing new officers with field training officers. For example, at 
two ports of entry, experienced officers were unwilling to take on the 
extra responsibility of training new officers, according to CBP 
officials at these locations. 

Weaknesses in On-the-Job Training Can Reduce the Effectiveness of 
Traveler Inspections: 

Vulnerabilities in traveler inspections are created when new officers 
do not receive required training. For example, new officers who 
received as little as 2 weeks of on-the-job training rather than the 
recommended 12 weeks told us that they needed more training before 
inspecting travelers. In our July 2003 report, we reported that 
discrepancies in on-the-job training decrease the effectiveness of 
traveler inspections at ports of entry when little or no on-the-job 
training is given to new officers.[Footnote 55] For example, we found 
that the ports that graded their officers as being the least prepared 
to carry out traveler inspections were among the ports that provided 
the least amount of on-the-job training. 

Opportunities for Strengthening CBP's On-the-Job Training Program for 
New CBP Officers: 

In addition to new CBP officers not receiving on-the-job training 
consistent with CBP's national program guidance, the training program 
lacks certain elements that may be limiting CBP's ability to 
effectively train new officers. Internal control standards related to 
management of human capital state that management should ensure that 
the organization has a workforce that has the required skills necessary 
to achieve organizational goals. While CBP's on-the-job training 
guidance requires supervisors to document the tasks officers have 
performed while in the on-the-job training program, the guidance does 
not require that officers perform certain tasks to develop needed 
skills nor does it call on officers to demonstrate proficiency in 
specific job tasks. 

The U.S. Border Patrol, an office within CBP, developed a field 
training program that contains mechanisms to help ensure new Border 
Patrol agents obtain the needed skills to do their job and demonstrate 
proficiency in those skills. For example, the Border Patrol identified 
32 different specific skills, knowledge, and behavior traits intrinsic 
to Border Patrol operations, such as processing an expedited removal 
case, that agents must perform over the 12-week training period. If the 
new agent cannot gain experience in a specific task, the training 
officer must arrange for the new agent to conduct a practical exercise. 
The program requires that agents be evaluated in all 32 areas and be 
provided weekly feedback on those areas covered in training during the 
week. Agents are required to demonstrate competency in performing the 
32 skills. In addition, training officers are required to write 
specific comments on performance that is rated as significantly 
deficient or exceptional. 

We discussed the utility of the Border Patrol's on-the-job training 
program with CBP officials. CBP officials told us that they are 
planning to revise CBP's on-the-job field training program for new CBP 
officers to make it a more robust program. They stated that they would 
review the Border Patrol's field training program to identify best 
practices that they might incorporate into CBP's on-the-job training 
program for new CBP officers. 

Results from OPM's 2006 Federal Human Capital Survey Show that 
NonSupervisory CBP Staff Are Concerned about Training: 

Similar to the issues discussed above, our analysis of OPM's 2006 
Federal Human Capital Survey shows that CBP staff expressed concern 
about training. Our analysis shows that less than half of 
nonsupervisory CBP staff were satisfied with how CBP assesses their 
training needs (43 percent), the extent to which supervisors support 
employee development (43 percent), and the degree to which supervisors 
provide constructive feedback on how to improve (42 percent). In 
responding to these three questions, a significantly lower percentage 
of nonsupervisory staff at CBP was satisfied with their training 
experiences than nonsupervisory staff in other federal agencies. 

CBP Has Developed Strategic Goals for Its Traveler Inspection Program, 
but Challenges Remain in Formalizing Related Performance Measures: 

Strategic Plan Establishes Goals and Objectives for Traveler Inspection 
Program: 

CBP has developed strategic goals for its traveler inspection program, 
but it faces challenges in formalizing a set of performance measures 
that track what progress it is making toward achieving these goals. In 
September 2006, CBP's Office of Field Operations issued its 5-year 
strategic plan called Securing America's Borders at Ports of Entry, 
which defines CBP's national strategy for securing America's borders, 
specifically at ports of entry for fiscal year 2007 through fiscal year 
2011. Building on the key themes in DHS's and other CBP strategic 
plans[Footnote 56] and applying them specifically to ports of entry, 
the plan outlines the Office of Field Operation's vision on 
establishing secure ports of entry where potential threats are 
deterred; threats and inadmissible people, goods, and conveyances are 
intercepted; legitimate trade and travel are facilitated; and 
operations and outcomes are consistent across locations and modes of 
transportation. The plan outlines five strategic goals. They are (1) 
expanding advance knowledge--increasing and improving the information 
and analysis CBP has about people, goods, and conveyances before they 
arrive at the ports of entry; (2) modernizing the inspection process to 
ensure that all people and goods are inspected appropriately; (3) 
ensuring a flexible enforcement focus to improve CBP's effectiveness in 
assessing, detecting, and predicting threats; (4) strengthening 
physical security at the ports of entry to maintain a secure 
environment for officers to perform inspections; and (5) building 
organizational partnerships, maintaining a skilled workforce, and 
utilizing emerging technologies to achieve CBP's mission. 

Reported Performance Measures for Traveler Inspection Program Do Not 
Assess CBP's Effectiveness at Apprehending Inadmissible Aliens and 
Other Violators: 

Although one of CBP's main goals is to intercept inadmissible aliens 
and other violators, CBP's reported performance measure does not 
address this goal. In its fiscal year 2006 Performance and 
Accountability Report, CBP reported on the degree to which travelers 
who arrive at the port of entry are in compliance with immigration, 
agricultural, and other laws, rules, and regulations as a way to gauge 
the success of its traveler inspection efforts. Using data from its 
COMPEX program, CBP uses a measure--called the compliance rate--which 
showed that in fiscal year 2006 about 99 percent of travelers who seek 
to enter the United States through 19 major airports and by vehicle at 
25 major land ports were in compliance with laws, rules, and 
regulations. 

We have reported that linking performance to strategic goals and 
objectives and publicly reporting this information are important so 
that Congress and agency management have better information about 
agency performance and help to ensure accountability. CBP's current 
performance measure, the compliance rate, shows the extent to which 
travelers arriving at ports of entry meet the legal requirements for 
entering the country. CBP does not use data that measure the extent to 
which it is intercepting inadmissible aliens and other violators, one 
of CBP's key strategic objectives. As discussed earlier in our report, 
CBP calculates a measure known as the apprehension rate as part of its 
COMPEX program, which provides an estimate of the agency's 
effectiveness in apprehending travelers seeking to enter the country 
illegally or in violation of other laws. The COMPEX program was 
originally developed by the former U.S. Customs Service to comply with 
the Government Performance and Results Act, which requires federal 
agencies to develop outcome-based performance goals and measures, when 
possible, as a way to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their 
programs. 

During the course of our review, we discussed with CBP officials the 
potential of using the apprehension rate as one way of measuring the 
effectiveness of CBP interdiction efforts. In June 2007, CBP officials 
told us that CBP was in the process of selecting performance measures 
for fiscal year 2008 and a decision had not yet been made on whether to 
include the apprehension rate or some other similar outcome-based 
measure. 

Conclusions: 

Effective inspection of the millions of travelers entering the country 
each year is critical to the security of the United States. As CBP 
matures as an organization, having effective inspection procedures, 
retaining its officer corps, and developing the necessary skills in its 
officer corps are essential given the critical role that CBP plays in 
national security. Although CBP developed new inspection procedures 
that require CBP field office directors to monitor and assess 
compliance with the new procedures, a key internal control requiring 
field office directors to communicate with CBP management the results 
of their monitoring and assessment efforts is not in place. As a 
result, CBP management may not get information that would identify 
weaknesses in the traveler inspections process that need to be 
addressed. The initial set of actions that CBP has taken for dealing 
with challenges in training at ports of entry is a positive start, but 
it has not established a mechanism to know whether officers who need 
specific cross-training have received it and whether new CBP officers 
have experience in the necessary job tasks and are proficient in them. 
This means that some officers may be called on to perform certain 
inspection tasks without having the knowledge and skills to do them. 

It is also important to have performance measures in place to permit 
agency management to gauge progress in achieving program goals and, if 
not, to take corrective action. In regard to traveler inspections, CBP 
is missing an important performance measure that shows what results are 
achieved in apprehending inadmissible aliens and other violators. CBP 
has apprehension rate data that could be used to develop such a 
performance measure. Having performance measures related to the 
effectiveness of CBP interdiction efforts would help inform Congress 
and agency management of improvements resulting from changes in CBP's 
traveler inspection program and what gaps in coverage, if any, remain. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To mitigate the risk of failed traveler inspections at ports of entry, 
we recommended in our October 5, 2007 report[Footnote 57] that the 
Secretary of Homeland Security direct the Commissioner of Customs and 
Border Protection to take the following four actions: 

* implement internal controls to help ensure that field office 
directors communicate to agency management the results of their 
monitoring and assessment efforts so that agencywide results can be 
analyzed and necessary actions taken to ensure that new traveler 
inspection procedures are carried out in a consistent way across all 
ports of entry; 

* develop data on cross-training programs that measure whether the 
individuals who require training are receiving it so that agency 
management is in a better position to measure progress toward achieving 
training goals; 

* incorporate into CBP's procedures for its on-the-job training program 
(1) specific tasks that CBP officers must experience during on-the-job 
training and (2) requirements for measuring officer proficiency in 
performing those tasks; and: 

* formalize a performance measure for the traveler inspection program 
that identifies CBP's effectiveness in apprehending inadmissible aliens 
and other violators. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of the For Official Use Only version of this report 
to DHS for comment. In commenting on our draft report, DHS, including 
CBP, agreed with our recommendations. Specifically, DHS stated that CBP 
is taking action or has taken action to address each recommendation. 
For example, DHS stated that CBP will develop a measurement validation 
tool to help confirm that officers have received the necessary cross- 
training courses before they are assigned to a different work 
environment. In addition, CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) will 
evaluate how the Border Patrol is implementing its on-the-job training 
program and analyze its compatibility to OFO. If effectively 
implemented, these actions should help address the intent of our 
recommendations. 

CBP took issue with an example we used in our draft report describing a 
situation where two GAO investigators who tested the traveler 
inspection process at land port of entry were not asked for any 
identification. We stated that as our investigators attempted to enter 
at the port, the CBP officer--who was seated behind a desk about 10 
feet away--only asked our investigators if they were U.S. citizens and 
the investigators said "yes." DHS stated that under current statute and 
regulation, a person claiming to be a United States citizen arriving at 
a port of entry is not required to provide identity documents as long 
as the subject can establish, to the satisfaction of the inspecting 
officer, citizenship. DHS stated that because CBP officers were 
satisfied with the citizenship of the two investigators at the time of 
inspection, identity documents were not required. 

We agree that an identity document is not required for U.S. citizens at 
land ports of entry. However, this example is meant to convey that some 
inspections were not meeting the intent of CBP's July 2006 management 
guidance calling for more thorough inspections through traveler 
interviews and document review. Asking a traveler one question about 
citizenship when seated at a desk about 10 feet away does not seem to 
be consistent with the more thorough inspections called for in CBP's 
management guidance. We modified our report to include additional 
information on this episode. 

DHS also provided technical comments, which we incorporated into the 
For Official Use Only version of this report as appropriate. Appendix 
III contains written comments from DHS. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Homeland 
Security, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and 
interested congressional committees. We will also make copies available 
to others on request. In addition, this report will be available at no 
charge on the GAO Web site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, please 
contact me at (202) 512-8777 or by e-mail at stanar@gao.gov. Contact 
points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs 
may be found on the last page of this report. Key contributors to this 
report are listed in appendix IV. 

Richard M. Stana: 

Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

This report addresses the progress the U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection (CBP) has made and the remaining challenges it faces in 
conducting traveler inspections, staffing, and training at ports of 
entry. Specifically, we answered the following questions: (1) What 
success and challenges has CBP had in interdicting inadmissible aliens 
and other violators at its ports of entry? (2) What progress has CBP 
made in improving staffing and training at its ports of entry and how 
successful has it been in carrying out these workforce programs? (3) 
What progress and problems CBP has encountered in setting goals and 
performance measures for its traveler inspection program? 

On October 5, 2007, we issued a report that answered the above 
questions, but it contained information that DHS considered law 
enforcement sensitive.[Footnote 58] This version of the report omits 
sensitive information about CBP's traveler inspection efforts, 
including information on the techniques used to carry out inspections, 
data on the number of inadmissible aliens and other violators that 
enter the country each year, and data on staffing at ports of entry. In 
addition, at DHS's request, we have redacted the specific locations 
that we visited. 

The overall methodology used for our initial report is relevant to this 
version of the report since the information in this product is derived 
from our first report. Specifically, we, performed our work at the 
Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) CBP offices, based in 
Washington, D.C. We also conducted work at 8 ports of entry--three 
airports and five land crossings. While we cannot generalize our work 
from our visits to all ports of entry, we chose these ports of entry to 
provide examples of operations at ports of entry. At each location, we 
held group sessions with CBP officers and supervisors. We also 
interviewed port management and staff involved in training. In 
addition, our investigators conducted vulnerability assessments of 
inspection procedures at 8 additional ports of entry. Our investigators 
conducted covert operations to evaluate screening procedures at small 
ports of entry. Although we cannot generalize our investigators' work 
at these locations to all ports of entry, we selected these ports of 
entry to provide examples of traveler inspections at small ports of 
entry. Our investigators did their work in accordance with quality 
standards for investigations as set forth by the President's Council on 
Integrity and Efficiency. In assessing the adequacy of internal 
controls, we used the criteria in GAO's Standards for Internal Control 
in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD 00-21.3.1, dated November 1999. 
These standards, issued pursuant to the requirements of the Federal 
Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982 (FMFIA), provide the overall 
framework for establishing and maintaining internal control in the 
federal government. Also pursuant to FMFIA, the Office of Management 
and Budget issued Circular A-123, revised December 21, 2004, to provide 
the specific requirements for assessing the reporting on internal 
controls. Internal control standards and the definition of internal 
control in Circular A-123 are based on the GAO Standards for Internal 
Control in the Federal Government. 

To determine what success and challenges CBP has had in interdicting 
inadmissible aliens and other violators at its ports of entry, we 
interviewed CBP headquarters officials, such as officials from the 
Offices of Field Operations, Policy and Planning, Finance, and Training 
and Development. We obtained and analyzed available DHS documents on 
traveler inspections, more specifically on COMPEX data (a compliance 
measurement to determine an overall estimated rate of compliance for 
travelers), and port infrastructure assessments. For example, we 
examined COMPEX data that estimate the total number of inadmissible 
aliens and other violators that seek to enter the country, and compared 
their compliance and apprehension rates. We assessed the reliability of 
the COMPEX data by (1) talking with knowledgeable officials about how 
COMPEX inspections are conducted, documented, and how the apprehension 
rate estimates are generated; (2) reviewing relevant documentation; and 
(3) replicating the calculations for the apprehension rates that were 
provided in the COMPEX reports. We determined the COMPEX estimates were 
sufficiently reliable for illustrating apprehension rates for the ports 
of entry the COMPEX program covers. Additionally, we also analyzed 
CBP's Strategic Resource Assessment, an evaluation and planning tool 
designed to identify a port's infrastructure needs and operational 
impact on traveler inspections. We also evaluated the CBP Inspector's 
Field Manual to determine inspections-related requirements. During our 
eight site visits, we met with and interviewed field office directors 
and senior port management staff. During our interviews, we (1) 
discussed CBP's success in interdicting inadmissible aliens and other 
violators and the vulnerabilities in the inspections procedures and 
concerns related to physical infrastructure and (2) obtained available 
documentation regarding traveler-related inspections policies and 
procedures. At each port of entry we visited, we observed both primary 
and secondary screening procedures and conducted discussion group 
sessions with officers and supervisors. At each port of entry we 
visited, we obtained a list of CBP officers scheduled to work during 
our site visit and from that list we randomly selected officers and 
supervisors to participate in our sessions at six of the eight ports we 
visited. We organized the discussion groups by whether they were from 
legacy organizations or became CBP officers after the merger. At two 
ports of entry, local management selected officers who would attend the 
discussion groups and interviews. The group discussions covered a 
variety of discussion topics, particularly officers' perceptions and 
experiences with the "One Face at the Border" initiative and associated 
challenges in conducting inspections at ports of entry. Over 200 CBP 
officers participated in our discussion group sessions. In addition to 
the discussion groups, we also conducted meetings (usually groups of 
two to four) with CBP chiefs, line supervisors, and specialists (e.g., 
officers assigned to the intelligence or canine units). These meetings 
were designed to collect perceptions from CBP middle management and 
specialists. Additionally, we reviewed a videotape prepared by CBP that 
documented noncompliance with inspection requirements. Finally, we 
reviewed CBP's new policies and procedures for traveler inspections at 
land ports of entry. 

To examine what progress CBP has made in improving staffing and 
training at its ports of entry and how successful has it been in 
carrying out these workforce programs, we interviewed CBP headquarters 
officials, including those from the Offices of Field Operations, Policy 
and Planning, Human Resource Management, and Training and Development. 
We obtained and analyzed available CBP reports on staffing and training 
data. For example, we analyzed staffing data from CBP's Quarterly 
Resource Assessment, an allocation tool used by field offices to 
identify the port's need for additional resources (e.g., request for 
additional officers). We also collected and analyzed data from CBP's 
National Training Plan, a comprehensive guide that documents 
recommended training guidelines for CBP officers. At each major port we 
visited, we met with field office directors and senior port management. 
During our meetings we discussed staffing and training challenges that 
affected port operations. Follow-up meetings with CBP headquarters 
officials resulted in receiving staffing numbers from the Quarterly 
Resource Assessment--an assessment tool used by CBP to identify field 
office needs and resources--that documented field offices' request for 
additional officers. We reviewed headquarters guidance on the on-the- 
job training program, then met with field office directors and training 
coordinators. We assessed the reliability of the staffing data by (1) 
talking with knowledgeable officials about staffing resources, (2) 
reviewing relevant documentation, and (3) comparing budgeted staffing 
numbers to officers currently onboard. Although CBP provided us with 
the results of the staffing model and not the model itself, we reviewed 
the model with knowledgeable officials, including the assumptions that 
were used to produce the estimated staffing needs. We understand that 
the staffing requirements the model produces will vary depending on the 
assumptions used and we present the key assumptions in the text of our 
report. Although we discussed the staffing model and its results with 
CBP officials responsible for the model, validating the model and its 
results was outside the scope of our review. During the course of our 
review, we analyzed November 2006 training data from ports of entry 
that showed the number of officers that had taken cross-training 
modules as well as the number of officers that local port management 
had identified as still needing to take a certain module. However, when 
we compared July 2007 training data with the November 2006 data from 
ports of entry, we identified inconsistencies with the data. For 
example, the July 2007 data showed that 120 fewer officers had taken 
training in a module when compared with the November 2006 data. Because 
of inconsistencies such as these, we did not use these data in our 
report. We also reviewed the Border Patrol's on-the-job training 
program to identify best practices. Finally, we assessed nonsupervisory 
CBP employees' perceptions of the effectiveness of CBP's workforce 
management in areas such as job satisfaction, performance evaluation, 
providing employees sufficient resources to do their jobs, and meeting 
training needs by analyzing results from the 2004 and 2006 Office of 
Personnel Management's (OPM) Federal Human Capital Survey. In addition, 
we discussed CBP's training program with officers during discussion 
groups at the eight ports of entry we visited. To get a perspective on 
how these results ranked against other federal agencies, we compared 
the results of our analysis for nonsupervisory CBP employees with 
responses from nonsupervisory staff in the other DHS component agencies 
as well as the responses from the other 36 federal agencies included in 
the survey. 

To examine what progress CBP has made in setting goals and performance 
measures for its traveler inspection program, we interviewed and 
corresponded with officials in CBP's Offices of Field Operations, 
Policy and Planning, and Human Resources Management. In addition, to 
identify CBP's strategic goals and performance measures for inspecting 
travelers, we reviewed agency documents such as CBP's Strategic Plan 
for 2005 to 2010, CBP Performance and Accountability Reports for fiscal 
years 2005 and 2006, and OFO's strategic plan, Securing America's 
Borders at Ports of Entry (FY 2007-2011). 

We conducted our work from August 2006 through September 2007 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: CBP's Strengths and Challenges, According to OPM Surveys: 

To gain a broader view of CBP nonsupervisory staff perspectives on 
workforce issues, we analyzed results from the 2004 and 2006 OPM 
Federal Human Capital Survey of 36 federal departments or agencies. 
OPM's survey represents responses from over 220,000 federal employees, 
including staff from DHS and CBP.[Footnote 59] The survey has 73 
questions designed to gauge employees' perceptions about how 
effectively agencies manage their workforce in the following 
categories: Personal Work Experiences; Recruitment, Development and 
Retention; Performance Culture; Leadership; Learning (Knowledge 
Management); Job Satisfaction; and Satisfaction with Benefits. The 
following presents our analysis of responses from nonsupervisory CBP 
staff to questions from OPM's 2004 and 2006 surveys. 

CBP Receives High Marks in Some Areas, but Staff Generally Expressed 
Low Satisfaction with Their Work Environment: 

Estimates based on responses by CBP nonsupervisory staff to OPM's 2006 
survey show that weaknesses in the work environment generally 
outweighed the strengths. Our analysis of the survey data showed that 
CBP nonsupervisory staff identified strengths in 12 of the 73 survey 
questions.[Footnote 60] For example, we estimate that a high percentage 
of CBP staff (1) view their work as important, (2) use information 
technology to perform work, (3) like the kind of work they do, and (4) 
understand how their work relates to the agency's mission. (See table 1 
for the top 10 items.) 

Table 1: Top 10 Items--Strengths in CBP: 

Items: The work I do is important; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 87.5. 

Items: Employees use information technology to perform work; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 86.1. 

Items: I like the kind of work I do; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 83.0. 

Items: Satisfaction with paid vacation time; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 81.9. 

Items: Satisfaction with paid leave for illness; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 77.0. 

Items: Electronic access to learning and training at desk; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 74.9. 

Items: The people I work with cooperate to get the job done; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 74.7. 

Items: Employees in my work unit share job knowledge with each other; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 73.4. 

Items: I know how my work relates to the agency's goals and priorities; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 73.1. 

Items: Rate the overall quality of work done by work group; 
Percent estimates for nonsupervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" or 
"strongly agree, "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 67.7. 

Source: GAO analysis of OPM survey. 

[End of table] 

Our analysis also showed that CBP nonsupervisory staff identified 
weaknesses[Footnote 61] in 22 of 73 areas.[Footnote 62] (See table 2 
for the bottom 10 items.) 

Table 2: Bottom 10 Items--Weaknesses in CBP: 

Item: Employees are rewarded for high-quality products and services; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 20.8. 

Item: Awards depend on how well employees perform their jobs; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 19.8. 

Item: Satisfaction with work/life programs; 
Percent estimates for non- supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 19.3. 

Item: Creativity and innovation are rewarded; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 18.4. 

Item: Steps taken to deal with a poor performer; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 17.8. 

Item: Promotions in my work unit are based on merit; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 17.7. 

Item: Differences in performance are recognized in a meaningful way; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 16.7. 

Item: Satisfaction with telework/telecommuting; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 15.8. 

Item: Satisfaction with child care subsidies; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 9.4. 

Item: Pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs; 
Percent estimates for non-supervisory CBP staff who responded "agree" 
or "strongly agree," "satisfied," or "very satisfied" 9.1. 

Source: GAO analysis of OPM survey. 

[End of table] 

When compared with the 2004 survey results, the survey results for 2006 
showed that the only area where CBP demonstrated significant progress 
for non-supervisory staff was increasing employees' electronic access 
to learning materials at their desks (an estimated 24 percent 
improvement from 2004 to 2006). For 19 of 71 items,[Footnote 63] we 
estimate that scores for nonsupervisory CBP staff declined by a 
statistically significant degree. Some of the items where CBP faces 
greater challenges today than it did in 2004 include (1) having 
worthwhile discussions with supervisors about performance (an estimated 
9.4 percent fewer positive responses in 2006 compared with 2004); (2) 
rating the overall quality of work done by their unit (6.9 percent 
fewer); and (3) people I work with cooperate to get the job done (6.2 
percent fewer). 

CBP Results Generally Mirror Those of DHS, but CBP Has Shown Little or 
No Improvement in Its Work Environment Since 2004: 

The estimates for nonsupervisory staff within CBP generally mirror 
those for the rest of DHS employees. Estimates based on responses from 
nonsupervisory CBP staff were about the same as those based on the rest 
of DHS on 47 of the 73 survey items. CBP scored higher on four items, 
including having a reasonable workload and electronic access to 
training. CBP was below DHS on the remaining 22 items, including work 
environment issues such as the quality of work done by the workgroup, 
feedback from supervisors, and having enough information to do the job 
well. 

Placing the results of our analysis in context with how DHS compared 
with the other 36 departments or agencies involved in OPM's survey 
provides a baseline along which to examine a department or agency's 
results. For 2006, DHS ranked at or near the bottom of four main 
categories measured by the survey. DHS ranked 35th on leadership and 
knowledge management, 36th on having a results-oriented performance 
culture, 33rd on talent management, and 36th on job satisfaction. To 
put the situation at CBP in this context, CBP's survey results rank the 
agency 10th out of the 13 DHS subcomponents, which would suggest that 
CBP similarly ranks at or near the bottom in these categories when 
compared to other federal agencies. 

Quality of CBP's Work Environment for Nonsupervisory Employees Is 
Generally Lower than at Other Federal Agencies: 

For 2006, nonsupervisory CBP staff scored the work environment as lower 
than elsewhere in the federal government on 61 of the survey's 73 
questions.[Footnote 64] For example, when we compared CBP with other 
federal agencies, we estimated that a significantly smaller percentage 
of CBP nonsupervisory staff said (1) supervisors or team leaders in 
their work unit support employee development, (2) their work unit 
recruits people with the right skills, and (3) they are given an 
opportunity to improve their skills. In contrast, there were no items 
where CBP staff scored the work environment as significantly better. 

When viewed in more detail, our analysis of OPM's survey data shows 
that CBP faces challenges in staffing and training its personnel, 
especially when CBP is compared to other federal agencies. For 
staffing, we estimate that CBP staff gave low marks to CBP for (1) the 
adequacy of sufficient resources to get the job done and (2) their work 
unit being able to recruit people with the right skills. With respect 
to training, less than half of CBP's staff were reportedly satisfied 
with (1) the quality of the training received, (2) CBP's assessment of 
their training needs, and (3) supervisory support for employee 
development (see table 3). 

Table 3: Selected Items in Which CBP Scored Lower than Elsewhere in the 
Federal Government (in percentages): 

Staffing; 
Item: I have sufficient resources to get my job done; 
CBP: 33.2; 
Rest of government: 47.8; 
Difference: -14.7. 

Staffing; 
Item: My talents are used well in the workplace; 
CBP: 48.1; 
Rest of government: 61.7; 
Difference: : -13.6. 

Staffing; 
Item: My work unit is able to recruit people with the right skills; 
CBP: Training: 30.3; 
Rest of government: Training: 43.7; 
Difference: Training: -13.5. 

Training; 
Item: Supervisor/team leader in my work unit supports employee 
development; 
CBP: 43.0; 
Rest of government: 64.5; 
Difference: 21.5. 

Training; 
Item: Supervisor/team leader provides constructive feedback on how to 
improve; 
CBP: 42.1; 
Rest of government: 57.9; 
Difference: -15.7. 

Training; 
Item: My training needs are assessed; 
CBP: Other work environment issues: 43.3; 
Rest of government: Other work environment issues: 51.2; 
Difference: Other work environment issues: -7.8. 

Other work environment issues; 
Item: I have enough information to do my job well; 
CBP: 58.2; 
Rest of government: 72.6; 
Difference: -14.4. 

Other work environment issues; 
Item: My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment; 
CBP: 60.9; 
Rest of government: : 73.1; 
Difference: : -12.3. 

Other work environment issues; 
Item: I have trust and confidence in my supervisor; 
CBP: CBP: 55.1; 
Rest of government: Rest of government: 63.9; 
Difference: Difference: -8.8. 

Source: GAO analysis of OPM survey. 

[End of table] 

CBP acknowledges that it needs to improve its workforce management, 
particularly focusing on raising employees' perceptions of CBP 
leadership, enhancing training and career development, and attitudes 
toward the performance culture at CBP. CBP has formulated a business 
plan that outlines a variety of corrective actions and initiatives it 
will take to achieve results in each of these areas. From a strategic 
standpoint, CBP will establish a Human Capital Advisory Board, composed 
of senior field leadership from the major CBP offices, that will serve 
as the central contact point for all program offices, advise and assist 
with implementing the initiatives outlined in the business plan, and 
asses the potential for forming an Employee Action Team Advisory Board. 
To facilitate communication with CBP employees about management 
actions, the plan sets forth a variety of potential actions, such as 
creating a Web site on the CBP intranet where CBP supervisors and 
employees can review the current workforce issues being addressed or 
results from actions taken, adding a link to CBP's Web site where the 
public can access information to learn how CBP is addressing the survey 
results, and holding town hall meetings at key locations with the 
Commissioner and other high-level management. To better define the 
scope of the workforce issues and problems identified through the 
Federal Human Capital Survey, CBP also plans to conduct employee focus 
groups as well as administer the survey internally to a larger, more 
representative sample of CBP employees. Following an in-depth analysis 
of the results of these actions, CBP will update the business plan in 
the first quarter of 2008. 

As part of its leadership initiative, CBP is exploring options to 
improve employee perceptions of managers' job performance, establish 
better communication of management's goals and priorities, and 
encourage managers to build more trust and confidence with their 
employees. To accomplish these goals, CBP plans to create a leadership 
development checklist to make sure supervisors are addressing critical 
areas identified through the employee focus groups, and intends to 
increase the marketing of its recently implemented training course for 
incumbent supervisors as well as continue the development of training 
for supervisors newly promoted into management positions. These courses 
cover integrity, communication, conflict management, and holding 
effective roundtable discussions. Within the performance culture 
initiative, CBP wants to find better ways of recognizing employees' 
performance that will improve their perceptions about the fairness of 
CBP's performance recognition while also supporting a balance between 
work and family life, which employees also rated poorly. CBP's plan 
includes, among other things, a call for improving the channels of 
communication used to inform supervisors and managers about the type 
and scope of discretionary performance awards they have at their 
disposal to issue throughout the year. It also suggests encouraging 
management at all levels of CBP to have more frequent employee 
recognition events, to publish award recipients and best practices, and 
to make awards management a component of performance standards for 
supervisory personnel. Finally, within the talent management 
initiative, the plan calls for Human Resources to complete its 
competency, skills, and needs assessment by the third quarter of fiscal 
year 2007, and for the Office of Training and Development to implement 
an automated development and career path system that will guide 
employees in their career development by providing occupational "road 
maps" and recommending training based on the occupations they intend to 
pursue. 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Homeland Security: 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: 
Washington, DC 20528: 
[hyperlink, http://www.dhs.gov]: 

October 2, 2007: 

Mr. Richard M. Stana: 
Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W.: 
Washington, DC 20548:  

Dear Mr. Stana: 

RE: Draft Report GAO-07-1212SU, Border Security: Despite Progress, 
Weaknesses in Traveler Inspections Exist at Our Nation's Ports of Entry 
(GAO Job Code 440524) 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appreciates the opportunity 
to review and comment on the draft report referenced above. The report 
addresses internal controls in the inspection process, mechanisms for 
measuring training provided and new officer proficiency, and 
implementing a performance measure for apprehending illegal aliens and 
other violators. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes 
four recommendations to mitigate the risk of failed traveler 
inspections at ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 
officials agree with the recommendations and are taking corrective 
action. 

The report indicated that there are weaknesses in CBP's inspection 
procedures. CBP has made marked improvements in the identification of 
all travelers presenting themselves for admission at land border ports 
of entry. In April 2006, CBP mandated that all Field Offices with land 
border ports of entry begin increasing the number of primary name 
queries with the final goal of querying every person arriving at the 
ports. Since April 2006, CBP has raised the percentage of queries from 
single digit levels to an average of more than fifty percent 
nationwide. 

As mentioned in the draft report, the GAO conducted an investigation on 
traveler inspection procedures. Upon review of the details of this 
investigation, CBP concluded that GAO's findings were inaccurate and 
flawed. Under current statute and regulation, a person claiming to be a 
United States citizen arriving at a port of entry is not required to 
provide identity documents as long as the subject can establish, to the 
satisfaction of the inspecting officer, citizenship. Therefore, because 
CBP Officers were satisfied with the citizenship of the two 
investigators at the time of inspection, identity documents were not 
required. 

The following narrative is designed to address the four 
recommendations, specifically the action taken or planned. Technical 
comments have been provided under separate cover. 

Recommendation l: 

Implement internal controls to help ensure that field office directors 
communicate to agency management the results of their monitoring and 
assessment efforts so that agency wide results can be analyzed and 
necessary actions taken to ensure that new traveler inspection 
procedures are carried out in a consistent way across all ports of 
entry. 

Response: 

We agree with the recommendation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection 
(CBP) officials already have taken action to address the recommendation 
and believe it can be closed. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Directive 1520-012A, Office of Field 
Operations (OFO) Self-Inspection Program, dated May 10, 2007, outlines 
the annual process and procedures for performing self-inspections and 
inspection verifications, and defines the roles and responsibilities of 
those involved in the process. The program verifies that the OFO 
mission is performed in accordance with established policies and 
procedures. Additionally, this program is supportive of the Securing 
America's Borders at the Ports of Entry, Data Integrity Initiative and 
the goal of verifying the quality and accuracy of data collected on 
travelers, goods and conveyances. 

The directive requires the Directors of Field Operations to verify to 
the Assistant Commissioner, OFO, via memorandum, that the self-
inspections have been completed as well as ensuring that corrective 
measures are taken on identified deficiencies. The directive provides a 
bottom-up reporting chain that allows deficiencies to be reported, 
tracked through correction, and verified by CBP's Office of Internal 
Affairs, Management Inspections Division and OFO. As new programs or 
directives are developed and deployed, the OFO program manager with 
responsibility for the new program or directive develops or revises 
self-inspection worksheets to be used by the field. 

Recommendation 2: 

Develop data on cross-training programs that measure whether the 
individuals who require training are receiving it so that agency 
management is in a better position to measure progress toward achieving 
training goals. 

Response: 

Presently OFO is working with the Office of Training and Development to 
repurpose the border unification cross-training modules in order to 
provide function-specific port training. The anticipated delivery of 
this training is January 2008. Once the new training is in place, OFO 
will be in a better position to accurately measure whether an officer 
who needed the training received it.

In addition to the revised training that is anticipated to be delivered 
in Fiscal Year 2008, OFO is holding a focus group with Field Training 
Coordinators (FTCs) at CBP headquarters (HQ). One of the topics that 
will be covered is how HQ can more accurately track training and how to 
increase accountability of training to all levels of the organization. 
OFO will be asking the FTCs to provide any "best practices" they are 
currently using at their ports to ensure their officers are receiving 
all necessary training and to provide HQ with a recommendation on the 
best way to evaluate training progress. 

In the interim, CBP managers will develop a measurement validation tool 
to confirm that officers have received the proper training. OFO will 
compare the staffing assignments of officers assigned to work in a 
particular environment to the officers' training records. This 
assessment will allow CBP managers to ensure that the necessary cross-
training courses have been completed before an officer is assigned to 
work in a different environment. CBP officials expect the interim 
validation tool to be in place by the end of January 2008 and a port 
training assessment completed by the end of September 2008. 

Recommendation 3:

Incorporate into CBP's procedures for its on-the-job training program 
(1) specific tasks that CBP officers must experience during on-the-job 
training and (2) requirements for measuring officer proficiency in 
performing those tasks. Response: 

We agree with the recommendation. OFO sent a representative to the 
Office of Border Patrol's (OBP's) Training Conference to review their 
post-academy training. OFO will evaluate how OBP is implementing their 
on-the-job training and analyze its compatibility to OFO's unique 
training challenges. As the current cross-training modules are revised 
into port-specific training, OFO will look at ways to incorporate a 
monitoring system of specific skill sets that are imperative for 
success in each environment. Each environment will need to be analyzed 
for the specific tasks that must be performed and the requirements to 
measure officer proficiency, as the skill sets are not universal across 
the various environments. 

Recommendation 4:

Formalize a performance measure for the traveler inspection program 
that identifies CBP's effectiveness in apprehending inadmissible aliens 
and other violators. 

Response: 

We agree with the recommendation. OFO formulated a performance measure 
called the Apprehension Rate, which has been calculated for the air and 
land border vehicle environments. This measure provides a statistically 
valid estimate of the apprehension rate of land border vehicle 
passengers for major violations at the ports of entry. It results from 
a randomized statistical sampling program implemented at the ports of 
entry called COMPEX that utilizes a sampling technique that is 
outcome/results driven. It is an outcome measure because it estimates 
the threat approaching the port in terms of major violations and 
demonstrates the effectiveness of CBP officers in interdicting that 
threat. It encompasses only "major violations" as defined in the COMPEX 
sampling program, which includes serious criminal activity that results 
in arrests and seizures. 

This action is fully responsive to the recommendation and provides a 
reliable, statistically valid performance measure for the traveler 
inspection program that encompasses over 86 percent of travelers 
entering the United States at the ports of entry. The Apprehension Rate 
measure will be formally submitted by CBP to personnel involved with 
the DHS Future Years Homeland Security Plan (FYHSP) planning and 
budgeting system as a formal performance measure to be used in support 
of CBP planning requirements. Once Department personnel complete their 
review and make any revisions necessary to the measure definition, this 
measure will be added to the set of formal FYHSP performance measures 
used to track CBP performance for planning and budgeting purposes on an 
ongoing basis. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

Steven J. Pecinovsky: 

Director: 

Departmental GAO/OIG Liaison Office: 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Richard M. Stana (202) 512-8777 or StanaR@gao.gov. 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact listed above, Michael Dino, Assistant 
Director; Neil Asaba; Frances Cook; Josh Diosomito; Kasea Hamar; 
Michael Meleady; Christopher Leach; Ron La Due Lake; and Stan Stenersen 
made key contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Border Security: 

Border Security: Security of New Passports and Visas Enhanced, but More 
Needs to Be Done to Prevent Their Fraudulent Use. GAO-07-1006. 
Washington D.C.: July 31, 2007. 

Homeland Security: Prospects for Biometric US-VISIT Exit Capability 
Remain Unclear. GAO-07-1044T. Washington, D.C.: June 28, 2007. 

Border Patrol: Costs and Challenges Related to Training New Agents. GAO-
07-997T. Washington, D.C.: June 19, 2007. 

Homeland Security: Information on Training New Border Patrol Agents. 
GAO-07-540R. Washington, D.C.: March 30, 2007. 

Homeland Security: US-VISIT Program Faces Operational, Technological, 
and Management Challenges. GAO-07-632T. Washington, D.C.: March 20, 
2007. 

Secure Border Initiative: SBInet Planning and Management Improvements 
Needed to Control Risks. GAO-07-504T. Washington, D.C.: February 27, 
2007. 

Homeland Security: US-VISIT Has Not Fully Met Expectations and 
Longstanding Program Management Challenges Need to Be Addressed. GAO- 
07-499T. Washington, D.C.: February 16, 2007. 

Secure Border Initiative: SBInet Expenditure Plan Needs to Better 
Support Oversight and Accountability. GAO-07-309. Washington, D.C.: 
February 15, 2007. 

Homeland Security: Planned Expenditures for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant 
Status Program Need to Be Adequately Defined and Justified. GAO-07-278. 
Washington, D.C.: February 14, 2007. 

Border Security: US-VISIT Program Faces Strategic, Operational, and 
Technological Challenges at Land Ports of Entry. GAO-07-378T. 
Washington, D.C.: January 31, 2007. 

Border Security: US-VISIT Program Faces Strategic, Operational, and 
Technological Challenges at Land Ports of Entry. GAO-07-248. 
Washington, D.C.: December 6, 2006. 

Department of Homeland Security and Department of State: Documents 
Required for Travelers Departing from or Arriving in the United States 
at Air Ports-of-Entry From within the Western Hemisphere. GAO-07-250R. 
Washington, DC: December 6, 2006. 

Border Security: Stronger Actions Needed to Assess and Mitigate Risks 
of the Visa Waiver Program. GAO-06-1090T. Washington, D.C.: September 
7, 2006. 

Illegal Immigration: Border-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995; 
Border Patrol's Efforts to Prevent Deaths Have Not Been Fully 
Evaluated. GAO-06-770. Washington, D.C.: August 15, 2006. 

Border Security: Continued Weaknesses in Screening Entrants into the 
United States. GAO-06-976T. Washington, D.C.: August 2, 2006. 

Border Security: Stronger Actions Needed to Assess and Mitigate Risks 
of the Visa Waiver Program. GAO-06-854. Washington, D.C.: July 28, 
2006. 

Process for Admitting Additional Countries into the Visa Waiver 
Program. GAO-06-835R. Washington, D.C.: July 28, 2006. 

Intellectual Property: Initial Observations on the STOP Initiative and 
U.S. Border Efforts to Reduce Piracy. GAO-06-1004T. Washington, D.C.: 
July 26, 2006. 

Border Security: Investigators Transported Radioactive Sources across 
Our Nation's Borders at Two Locations. GAO-06-940T. Washington, D.C.: 
July 7, 2006. 

Border Security: Investigators Transported Radioactive Sources across 
Our Nation's Borders at Two Locations. GAO-06-939T. Washington, D.C.: 
July 5, 2006. 

Information on Immigration Enforcement and Supervisory Promotions in 
the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. GAO-06-751R. Washington, 
D.C.: June 13, 2006. 

Homeland Security: Contract Management and Oversight for Visitor and 
Immigrant Status Program Need to Be Strengthened. GAO-06-404. 
Washington, D.C.: June 9, 2006. 

Observations on Efforts to Implement the Western Hemisphere Travel 
Initiative on the U.S. Border with Canada. GAO-06-741R. Washington, 
D.C.: May 25, 2006. 

Homeland Security: Management and Coordination Problems Increase the 
Vulnerability of U.S. Agriculture to Foreign Pests and Disease. GAO-06- 
644. Washington, D.C.: May 19, 2006. 

Border Security: Reassessment of Consular Resource Requirements Could 
Help Address Visa Delays. GAO-06-542T. Washington, D.C.: April 4, 2006. 

Border Security: Investigators Transported Radioactive Sources across 
Our Nation's Borders at Two Locations. GAO-06-583T. Washington, D.C.: 
March 28, 2006. 

Border Security: Investigators Successfully Transported Radioactive 
Sources across Our Nation's Borders at Selected Locations. GAO-06-545R. 
Washington, D.C.: March 28, 2006. 

Homeland Security: Better Management Practices Could Enhance DHS's 
Ability to Allocate Investigative Resources. GAO-06-462T. Washington, 
D.C.: March 28, 2006. 

Combating Nuclear Smuggling: DHS Has Made Progress Deploying Radiation 
Detection Equipment at U.S. Ports-of-Entry, but Concerns Remain. GAO- 
06-389. Washington, D.C.: March 22, 2006. 

Combating Nuclear Smuggling: Corruption, Maintenance, and Coordination 
Problems Challenge U.S. Efforts to Provide Radiation Detection 
Equipment to Other Countries. GAO-06-311. Washington, D.C.: March 14, 
2006. 

Border Security: Key Unresolved Issues Justify Reevaluation of Border 
Surveillance Technology Program. GAO-06-295. Washington, D.C.: February 
22, 2006. 

Homeland Security: Recommendations to Improve Management of Key Border 
Security Program Need to Be Implemented. GAO-06-296. Washington, D.C.: 
February 14, 2006. 

Homeland Security: Visitor and Immigrant Status Program Operating, but 
Management Improvements Are Still Needed. GAO-06-318T. Washington, 
D.C.: January 25, 2006. 

Department of Homeland Security: Strategic Management of Training 
Important for Successful Transformation. GAO-05-888. Washington, D.C.: 
September 23, 2005. 

Border Security: Strengthened Visa Process Would Benefit from 
Improvements in Staffing and Information Sharing. GAO-05-859. 
Washington, D.C.: September 13, 2005. 

Border Security: Opportunities to Increase Coordination of Air and 
Marine Assets. GAO-05-543. Washington, D.C.: August 12, 2005. 

Border Security: Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of Department 
of Homeland Security's Visa Security Program. GAO-05-801. Washington, 
D.C.: July 29, 2005. 

Border Patrol: Available Data on Interior Checkpoints Suggest 
Differences in Sector Performance. GAO-05-435. Washington, D.C.: July 
22, 2005. 

Combating Nuclear Smuggling: Efforts to Deploy Radiation Detection 
Equipment in the United States and in Other Countries. GAO-05-840T. 
Washington, D.C.: June 21, 2005. 

Homeland Security: Performance of Foreign Student and Exchange Visitor 
Information System Continues to Improve, but Issues Remain. GAO-05- 
440T. Washington, D.C.: March 17, 2005. 

Homeland Security: Some Progress Made, but Many Challenges Remain on 
U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program. GAO-05- 
202. Washington, D.C.: February 23, 2005. 

Border Security: Streamlined Visas Mantis Program Has Lowered Burden on 
Foreign Science Students and Scholars, but Further Refinements Needed. 
GAO-05-198. Washington, D.C.: February 18, 2005. 

Border Security: Joint, Coordinated Actions by State and DHS Needed to 
Guide Biometric Visas and Related Programs. GAO-04-1080T. Washington, 
D.C.: September 9, 2004. 

Border Security: State Department Rollout of Biometric Visas on 
Schedule, but Guidance Is Lagging. GAO-04-1001. Washington, D.C.: 
September 9, 2004. 

Border Security: Consular Identification Cards Accepted within United 
States, but Consistent Federal Guidance Needed. GAO-04-881. Washington, 
D.C.: August 24, 2004. 

Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Eliminate Weaknesses in 
the Visa Revocation Process. GAO-04-795. Washington, D.C.: July 13, 
2004. 

Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Eliminate Weaknesses in 
the Visa Revocation Process. GAO-04-899T. Washington, D.C.: July 13, 
2004. 

Border Security: Agencies Need to Better Coordinate Their Strategies 
and Operations on Federal Lands. GAO-04-590. Washington, D.C.: June 16, 
2004. 

Overstay Tracking: A Key Component of Homeland Security and a Layered 
Defense. GAO-04-82. Washington, D.C.: May 21, 2004. 

Homeland Security: First Phase of Visitor and Immigration Status 
Program Operating, but Improvements Needed. GAO-04-586. Washington, 
D.C.: May 11, 2004. 

Homeland Security: Risks Facing Key Border and Transportation Security 
Program Need to Be Addressed. GAO-04-569T. Washington, D.C.: March 18, 
2004. 

Border Security: Improvements Needed to Reduce Time Taken to Adjudicate 
Visas for Science Students and Scholars. GAO-04-443T. Washington, D.C.: 
February 25, 2004. 

Border Security: Improvements Needed to Reduce Time Taken to Adjudicate 
Visas for Science Students and Scholars. GAO-04-371. Washington, D.C.: 
February 25, 2004. 

Homeland Security: Overstay Tracking Is a Key Component of a Layered 
Defense. GAO-04-170T. Washington, D.C.: October 16, 2003. 

Security: Counterfeit Identification Raises Homeland Security Concerns. 
GAO-04-133T. Washington, D.C.: October 1, 2003. 

Homeland Security: Risks Facing Key Border and Transportation Security 
Program Need to Be Addressed. GAO-03-1083. Washington, D.C.: September 
19, 2003. 

Security: Counterfeit Identification and Identification Fraud Raise 
Security Concerns. GAO-03-1147T. Washington, D.C.: September 9, 2003. 

Land Border Ports of Entry: Vulnerabilities and Inefficiencies in the 
Inspections Process. GAO-03-1084R. Washington, D.C.: August 18, 2003. 

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center: Capacity Planning and 
Management Oversight Need Improvement. GAO-03-736. Washington, D.C.: 
July 24, 2003. 

Border Security: New Policies and Increased Interagency Coordination 
Needed to Improve Visa Process. GAO-03-1013T. Washington, D.C.: July 
15, 2003. 

Land Border Ports of Entry: Vulnerabilities and Inefficiencies in the 
Inspections Process, GAO-03-782. Washington, D.C.: July 2003. 

Border Security: New Policies and Procedures Are Needed to Fill Gaps in 
the Visa Revocation Process. GAO-03-908T. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 
2003. 

Border Security: New Policies and Procedures Are Needed to Fill Gaps in 
the Visa Revocation Process. GAO-03-798. Washington, D.C.: June 18, 
2003. 

Homeland Security: Challenges Facing the Department of Homeland 
Security in Balancing its Border Security and Trade Facilitation 
Missions. GAO-03-902T. Washington, D.C.: June 16, 2003. 

Counterfeit Documents Used to Enter the United States from Certain 
Western Hemisphere Countries Not Detected. GAO-03-713T. Washington, 
D.C.: May 13, 2003. 

Information Technology: Terrorist Watch Lists Should Be Consolidated to 
Promote Better Integration and Sharing. GAO-03-322. Washington, D.C.: 
April 15, 2003. 

Border Security: Challenges in Implementing Border Technology. GAO-03- 
546T. Washington, D.C.: March 12, 2003. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Ports of entry are government-designated locations where CBP 
inspects persons and goods to determine whether they may be lawfully 
admitted into the country. A land port of entry may have more than one 
border crossing point where CBP inspects travelers for admissibility 
into the United States. 

[2] U.S Customs Service was in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 
Customs inspectors were primarily responsible for inspecting cargo and 
goods. 

[3] U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was in the Department 
of Justice. Immigration inspectors were responsible for processing 
people traveling across the border. 

[4] Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was in the Department of 
Agriculture. Unlike the Customs Service and the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service, which were moved to DHS in its entirety, Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service continues to exist within the 
Department of Agriculture and retains responsibility for conducting, 
among other things, veterinary inspections of live imported animals, 
establishing policy for inspections and quarantines, and providing risk 
analysis. 

[5] See GAO, Land Ports of Entry: Vulnerabilities and Inefficiencies in 
the Inspections Process, GAO-03-782 (Washington, D.C.: July 2003). 

[6] See GAO, Border Security: Despite Progress, Weaknesses in Traveler 
Inspections Exist at Our Nation's Ports of Entry, GAO-08-123SU 
(Washington D.C.: Oct. 5, 2007). 

[7] Other violators include individuals seeking to enter the country 
who are not in compliance with the laws and regulations for entry, 
including immigration, customs, and agricultural requirements. 

[8] Our work on training focused on the training provided at ports of 
entry and did not include basic training given to CBP officers at the 
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. We also did not examine the 
role of agricultural specialists in CBP because we issued a report on 
agricultural inspections at ports of entry last year. See GAO, Homeland 
Security: Management and Coordination Problems Increase the 
Vulnerability of U.S. Agriculture to Foreign Pests and Disease, GAO-06-
644 (Washington D.C.: May 19, 2006). 

[9] CBP's 20 field offices are responsible for managing more than 300 
ports of entry. 

[10] GAO Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/ 
AIMD-00-21.3.1 (Washington, D.C.: November 1999). 

[11] We redacted data on the rate at which CBP apprehends inadmissible 
aliens and other violators who seek to enter the country because the 
data are considered sensitive. 

[12] BP's budget includes $1.3 billion in revenue from other sources, 
including user fees, which include fees collected by CBP for processing 
air and sea passengers, commercial trucks, railcars, private vessels, 
dutiable mail packages, and customs broker permits. 

[13] CBP also has preclearance operations at 15 international ports in 
Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, and Ireland, where travelers are 
processed for advance approval to enter the United States prior to 
departure from the respective airport. 

[14] and borders are unique because traffic at these crossings consists 
of varying combinations of pedestrians, bicycles, cars, trucks, buses, 
and rail. 

[15] These statistics represent the total number of crossings, but do 
not reflect the number of unique individuals that entered the country. 
For example, a person may enter the country on multiple occasions 
throughout the year, and CBP counts each separate entry by the same 
person as an additional traveler processed. 

[16] "Conveyance" refers to the means of transport by which persons or 
goods enter the country, such as by vehicle, aircraft, truck, or 
vessel. 

[17] The majority of persons processed at land ports of entry arrive 
either as automobile drivers or passengers (82 percent) or pedestrians 
(15 percent), with the remaining travelers arriving by bus (2 percent) 
or train (about 1 percent.) 

[18] Pursuant to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act 
of 2004, DHS is in the process of developing and implementing a plan, 
called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, to require these 
travelers to present a passport or other documents DHS deems sufficient 
to denote identity and citizenship. In particular, DHS has announced 
that it intends to end the routine practice of accepting oral 
declarations of citizenship alone starting January 31, 2008. 

[19] See 8 U.S.C.  1225(a). 

[20] See 8 C.F.R.  235.1(a), (b), (f)(1). 

[21] A non-immigrant alien is an international traveler that wishes to 
enter the United States on a temporary basis for tourism, medical 
treatment, business, temporary work, study, or other similar reasons. 

[22] As noted earlier, the merger consolidated inspectors from: (1) the 
U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (Department of Justice); 
(2) the U. S. Customs Service (Department of the Treasury); and (3) the 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Department of Agriculture). 

[23] The agricultural specialist is a technical, scientific position 
rather than a law enforcement position with an emphasis on detecting 
and preventing the importation of harmful agricultural pests and 
diseases. Candidates for these positions are required to have majored 
in biological sciences, agricultural sciences, natural resource 
management, chemistry, or a closely related field. The agricultural 
specialist is responsible for conducting agriculture inspection of 
passengers and cargo as well as analysis of agriculture imports. 
Additionally, agricultural specialists are not authorized to carry 
firearms, and therefore they cannot staff primary inspection lanes. 
However, they may provide backup support to CBP officers during 
secondary screening. 

[24] Prior to the creation of CBP, legacy customs officers were cross- 
trained to carry out primary inspections at land ports of entry. 

[25] To be removed from GAO's high-risk list, agencies must do three 
things. First, they have to produce a corrective action plan that 
defines the root causes of identified problems, identifies effective 
solutions to those problems, and provides for substantially completing 
corrective measures in the near term. Second, agencies must demonstrate 
significant progress in addressing the problems identified in their 
corrective action plan. Finally, agencies, in particular top 
leadership, must demonstrate a commitment to achieve any remaining key 
objectives and sustain various improvements in their performance over 
the long term. 

[26] In total, when seizures by other CBP offices, such as Border 
Patrol, are considered, CBP seized about 2 million pounds of illegal 
drugs in fiscal year 2006. 

[27] GAO, Border Security: Security of New Passports and Visas 
Enhanced, but More Needs to Be Done to Prevent Their Fraudulent Use, 
GAO-07-1006 (Washington D.C.: July 31, 2007). 

[28] For additional information on the inspection process for U.S. 
passports and visas, see GAO-07-1006. When fully implemented, US-VISIT 
is also intended to capture the same information from foreign nationals 
as they exit the country. For more information on the program, see GAO, 
Border Security: US-VISIT Program Faces Strategic, Operational, and 
Technological Challenges at Land Ports of Entry. GAO-07-248 (Washington 
D.C.: Dec. 6, 2006). 

[29] COMPEX was created in 1995 by U.S. Customs and was implemented at 
selected land crossings and airports on June 1, 1999. COMPEX allowed 
Customs to validate its deterrent efforts as well as meet the reporting 
requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act. 

[30] CBP breaks out violators into two main categories. The first 
category deals with serious violations (called category 1 violations) 
that include violations such as drug seizures and prohibited weapons. 
The second category involves minor violations (called category 2 
violations) that include violations such as nonroutine prohibited 
foodstuffs, such as certain types of candy. The apprehension rate 
measures only category 1 violators. 

[31] The apprehension rate is considered sensitive information and is 
not included in this report. 

[32] CBP's estimate of the number of inadmissible aliens and other 
violators who entered the country in fiscal year 2006 is considered to 
be sensitive and therefore could not be included in this report. 

[33] Staffing and training issues are discussed in more detail later in 
this report, under the heading, "Progress Being Made, but Challenges 
Still Exist in CBP Officer Staffing and Training." 

[34] The Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations 
(OFO) created a steering committee whose primary responsibility was to 
develop draft directives for traveler inspections at land, air, and sea 
ports and associated performance measures. The committee consists of 
all OFO Executive Directors and the Deputy Assistant Commissioner for 
OFO. 

[35] CBP's policy recognizes that U.S. or Canadian citizens under the 
age of 16 may not have identification. 

[36] DHS stated that by law a CBP officer is not required to ask for an 
identity document if the officer is satisfied that the person is a 
United States citizen. 

[37] The locations and a description of the weaknesses in physical 
infrastructure are considered sensitive information and therefore are 
not included in this report. 

[38] Examples of privately owned ports of entry that are leased to GSA 
include the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, New York and the Windsor 
Tunnel in Detroit, Michigan. 

[39] H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 109-699, at 126 (2006). 

[40] Pub. L. No. 109-347, 403, 120 Stat. 1884, 1926-28. 

[41] A radiation portal monitor is a detection device that provides CBP 
with a passive, non-intrusive means to screen trucks and other 
conveyances for the presence of nuclear and radiological materials. 

[42] For example, the DHS estimates that when the Western Hemisphere 
Travel Initiative is implemented--the initiative that generally 
requires U.S. citizens and citizens of Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico when 
entering the United States from certain countries in North, Central, or 
South America to have a passport or other document or combination of 
documents that the Secretary of DHS deems sufficient to show identity 
and citizenship--it will reduce inspection times by 15 to 25 seconds. 

[43] In a prior report, GAO recommended that CBP implement a staffing 
model to ensure that agricultural staffing levels at each port of entry 
are sufficient. See GAO, Homeland Security: Management and Coordination 
Problems Increase the Vulnerability of U.S. Agriculture to Foreign 
Pests and Disease, GAO-06-644 (Washington D.C.: May 19, 2006). 

[44] The specific techniques used by CBP in its "layered" enforcement 
approach are not included in this report because the information is 
considered sensitive. In addition, specific information on how staffing 
shortages affect CBP's ability to carry out primary and secondary 
inspections are also viewed as sensitive information and therefore are 
not included in this report. 

[45] Specific concerns from CBP officials of how officer fatigue 
affects primary inspections are not included in this report because the 
information is considered sensitive. 

[46] Specific data on CBP's budgeted staffing level and the number of 
officers onboard are not included in this report because the data are 
considered sensitive. 

[47] BP staff refers to all nonsupervisory employees within CBP, 
including CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and other mission support 
staff. CBP officers constitute 42 percent of CBP's nonsupervisory 
workforce and they represent the largest nonsupervisory group in CBP. 

[48] PM conducts the Federal Human Capital Survey (FHCS) as part of its 
efforts to measure federal employees' perceptions about how effectively 
agencies manage their workforce. 

[49] According to CBP officials, it developed the 37 modules by 
prioritizing courses in the following sequence: (1) anti-terrorism 
programs, (2) primary inspection policies and procedures, (3) 
agricultural inspection programs, and (4) customs secondary inspection 
for those officers with expertise in immigration issues. 

[50] This example applies to land ports of entry. 

[51] CBP has developed a specialty position in the immigration 
secondary area called the CBP Admissibility Officer. CBP officers 
designated for this position take a 21-day course at the Federal Law 
Enforcement Training Center followed by on-the-job training at the port 
of entry. 

[52] GAO, Land Border Ports of Entry: Vulnerabilities and 
Inefficiencies in the Inspections Process, GAO-03-782 (Washington, 
D.C.: July 2003). GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Strategic 
Management of Training Important for Successful Transformation, GAO-05-
888 (Washington, D.C.: September 2005). 

[53] New officers are sent to a port of entry after receiving roughly 
14 weeks of training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, 
according to a CBP officer. 

[54] See GAO-03-782. 

[55] See GAO-03-782. 

[56] DHS plan:Securing Our Homeland, 2004. CBP's 5-year strategic plan 
for fiscal years 2005-2010 is called Protecting America, issued in May 
2005, and sets goals and objectives for securing the border at and 
between ports of entry. CBP has also developed a national strategy for 
the Border Patrol for reaching operational control of the border 
between ports of entry. 

[57] See GAO-08-123SU. 

[58] See GAO-08-123SU. 

[59] The sample design for the OPM survey of federal employees allows 
reporting results at the DHS component level, and the data may be 
further broken out by employee, supervisory, or management status. It 
does not provide for developing estimates by job series, or for CBP 
officers alone. Here, "CBP staff" refers to all nonsupervisory 
employees within CBP, including CBP officers, Border Patrol agents, and 
other mission support staff. CBP officers constitute 42 percent of all 
CBP's nonsupervisory workforce and about 36 percent of CBP's workforce 
overall; therefore, these estimates can be considered a closer 
reflection of CBP officers than estimates for all of CBP. 

[60] OPM suggests an area is a management strength when 65 percent or 
more of the respondents give a positive response to a question. 

[61] OPM indicates that an area is a management weakness when 35 
percent or less of respondents give a positive response to a question. 

[62] We estimate that 50 percent or more of CBP nonsupervisory staff 
gave positive responses to 27 of 73 questions. For the remaining 46 
questions, less than half of CBP's staff responded in a positive way. 

[63] The 2004 and 2006 Federal Human Capital Surveys had 71 questions 
in common. 

[64] OPM suggests using 5 percent as a "rule of thumb" approach when 
reviewing and interpreting the survey results to identify notable or 
meaningful differences in responses to survey questions. Using this 
standard, CBP staff scores were 5 percent or more below the 
governmentwide average in responses to 61 of the 73 survey questions. 

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