Immigration Reform:

Alien Verification System Data Base Problems and Corrective Actions

IMTEC-89-52: Published: Jun 26, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1989.

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GAO reviewed the database that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) used for its Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, which states used to verify the immigration status of aliens applying for benefits under certain entitlement programs.

GAO found that: (1) 20 percent of a sample of 648 database records of aliens from 6 states lacked the INS status or class-of-admission code, an essential element for primary verification; (2) 14 percent of database records lacked the date of entry; (3) 11 percent of 296 hard-copy records had status codes which differed from the corresponding database record; (4) 8 percent of 296 hard-copy records had entry codes which differed from the corresponding database records; (5) INS actions to improve the database included entering missing information, correcting errors, redefining the class-of-admission code, gathering data on the reasons why states needed to perform secondary verifications, and identifying data elements needing correction; and (6) INS corrective and improvement actions have resulted in a decrease in the number of secondary verifications, from 34 percent of total queries in October 1988 to 17 percent in February 1989.

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