Illegal Aliens:

INS Participation in Antigang Task Forces in Los Angeles

GAO-01-78: Published: Oct 26, 2000. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2000.

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Department of Justice policy encourages cooperation among law enforcement agencies at all levels. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) participated in two such task forces, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the Violent Gang Task Force. These task forces have come under public and legal scrutiny for possible misconduct by law enforcement officers. Several convictions were overturned because evidence was tampered with or LAPD officers physically abused suspects. Media reports fueled concerns that LAPD and INS secretly worked together to illegally deport Latino immigrants. GAO concludes that INS was neither involved in nor observed any misconduct while working on these task forces. Interviews with INS officers, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, and immigrants rights groups did not reveal any misconduct involving INS agents. GAO did note, however, that documentation in some arrest files was missing or incomplete and that funding set aside for use in the OCDETF program was improperly used for non-OCDETF activities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 29, 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Executive Associate Commissioner for Field Operations issued guidance to the field, including the Los Angeles District,reminding them of their responsibility to ensure proper processing of alien case files, including ensuring that the files contain appropriate documentation and that the files show evidence of supervisory review.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service should have the Director of INS' Los Angeles District Office take appropriate actions to ensure that alien files in the district contain required documentation and that the files show evidence that they are timely reviewed by supervisors.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 29, 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Executive Associate Administrator for Field Operations issued guidance to the field stating that "Funds appropriated to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program will be spent in their entirety on OCDETF investigations and prosecutions."

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service should take steps to ensure that all INS districts use OCDETF resources in accordance with applicable guidelines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Border and Transportation Security

 

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