Opportunities for Immigration and Naturalization Service To Improve Cost Recovery and Debt Collection Practices

GGD-84-86: Published: Jul 13, 1984. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1984.

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GAO reviewed selected revenue-producing activities of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to determine whether INS is recovering the costs of services provided to identifiable recipients. GAO also determined how effective INS has been at collecting debts owed the government.

GAO found that, as of September 1983, INS had delinquent accounts receivable amounting to more than $118 million. Although INS recognizes the need to more fully recover costs and improve collection activities and has taken some corrective actions, it has missed opportunities. INS can more fully recover costs for certain services provided to the airlines and for certain fees related to applications for immigration benefits. Also, INS can more effectively and aggressively bill for and collect debts owed the government.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Actions taken have fallen short of expectations, but due to the passage of time, GAO believes no further follow-up action is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to demand payment from surety companies for breached immigration bonds and delinquent debts owed by carriers and, through the Department of the Treasury, pursue decertification of surety companies that fail to pay.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Actions taken have fallen short of expectations, but due to the passage of time, GAO believes no further follow-up action is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to require that bonds from airlines cover liquidated damages as well as fines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Actions taken have fallen short of expectations, but due to the passage of time, GAO believes no further follow-up action is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to establish debt ceilings and a system to track debt levels and bond coverage nationwide, by company, to ensure that bond amounts are adequate to cover the total potential loss from company default.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Actions promised by INS have fallen short of expectations, but due to passage of time, GAO believes no further follow-up action is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to establish controls to ensure that debts owed the government are promptly identified, recorded, and billed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Justice has not proposed legislation to increase the fee for private aircraft and vessel inspection because of a 1986 denial of a similar proposal by the Customs Service. Certain fees are reviewed annually and adjusted accordingly and fees for appeals have been increased. Data is too old to support this recommendation, therefore no further follow-up action is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to: (1) review fees annually and adjust them in accordance with Office of Management and Budget requirements; (2) review the adequacy of the $25 maximum charge for private aircraft and vessel inspection and, if appropriate, propose legislation to increase it; and (3) work with the Executive Office for Immigration Review on implementing proposed fees for appeals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS changed its inspectional overtime regulations which appeared in Fed. Reg. 50018, 12/26/84 and showed a $5 million savings in its FY 86 budget submission directly attributable to the recommendation. INS revised its preclearance costs regulation which appeared in the Fed. Reg. on 3/25/85. INS expects airlines to reimburse $1.4 million the first year, increasing in subsequent years.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to revise INS policy to require reimbursement from airlines for: (1) inspectional overtime at nondesignated international airports of entry; and (2) excess preclearance costs outside the United States.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 4, 1986, a new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register, which amended both INS and Executive Office for Immigration Review fees.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Executive Office for Immigration Review to work with INS in implementing proposed fees for appeals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

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