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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Claims adjudicators"

    1 publication with a total of 6 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    6 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that EOIR's fraud prevention controls are adequate, the Attorney General should direct EOIR to conduct regular fraud risk assessments across asylum claims in the immigration courts.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) reported that it is taking several steps toward implementing this recommendation. First, EOIR undertook a review of all asylum fraud complaints that the office received since 2007. Second, EOIR reported that, beginning in June 2016, it conducted a series of trainings and in-person "listening sessions" to discuss issues related to asylum fraud with immigration judges and court staff. Third, EOIR reported that it is in the process of creating a written assessment for all personnel at immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals to determine the magnitude of asylum fraud issues at each respective location. Fourth, EOIR reported that it is designing a statistical analysis of asylum fraud. On the basis of these actions, EOIR reported that it will subsequently to move to the next phases of the fraud risk assessment, consistent with GAO's Fraud Risk Management Framework. To fully address this recommendation, EOIR should conduct regular fraud risk assessments across asylum claims in immigration courts.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USCIS's fraud prevention controls are adequate and effectively implemented, and ensure that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers have the capacity to detect and prevent fraud, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct USCIS to conduct regular fraud risk assessments across the affirmative asylum application process.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, DHS indicated that USCIS had established a working group and collected fraud trend information from all eight asylum offices that will be used to inform the development of a risk assessment framework. As of January 2017, USCIS reported that the Asylum Division is continuing to develop the risk assessment framework and is working on an initial draft. According to USCIS, the Asylum Division, in cooperation with other relevant internal stakeholders such as USCIS's Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate, plans to develop an assessment tool and implementation plan for completing regular fraud risk assessments of the affirmative asylum process, with the first assessment to be completed no later than the end of fiscal year 2017. Regularly assessing fraud risks across the affirmative asylum process would provide USCIS more complete information on risks that may affect the integrity of the process and therefore help USCIS target its fraud prevention efforts to those areas that are of highest risk.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USCIS's fraud prevention controls are adequate and effectively implemented, and ensure that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers have the capacity to detect and prevent fraud, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct USCIS to develop and implement a mechanism to collect reliable data, such as the number of referrals to FDNS from asylum officers, about FDNS's efforts to combat asylum fraud.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2016, USCIS reported that FDNS is making improvements in its database for maintaining data and information on all FDNS activities, including activities associated with asylum fraud investigations. USCIS reported that FDNS planned to update database system guides and associated training materials, and conduct training for all users by September 2016. As of October 20, 2016, USCIS had not provided GAO with additional updates to the status of this recommendation. Developing and implementing a mechanism to collect reliable data, such as the number of referrals to FDNS from asylum officers, should help FDNS's efforts to combat asylum fraud.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USCIS's fraud prevention controls are adequate and effectively implemented, and ensure that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers have the capacity to detect and prevent fraud, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct USCIS to identify and implement tools that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers can use to detect potential fraud patterns across affirmative asylum applications.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In February 2016, DHS indicated that USCIS had allotted fiscal year 2016 funds in support of initial acquisition activities for tools to detect potential fraud patterns across affirmative asylum applications. USCIS reported that FDNS and DHS's Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency are conducting an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) to evaluate and compare operational effectiveness, suitability, costs, and risks associated with alternative solutions. In October 2016, DHS officials indicated that FDNS and DHS's Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency have completed an AoA and presented the results to FDNS leadership. According to USCIS, FDNS identified a hardware solution and began acquisition planning for this hardware in September 2016. As of October 2016, RAIO FDNS is working with USCIS's Office of Information Technology and other DHS components, including the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, to study options. Based upon this additional work, and dependent on securing necessary funding, USCIS reported that it expects to complete the analysis of additional tools by September 30, 2017. Identifying and implementing new tools to detect fraud patterns would help USCIS ensure that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers have the capacity to detect and prevent asylum fraud.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USCIS's fraud prevention controls are adequate and effectively implemented, and ensure that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers have the capacity to detect and prevent fraud, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct USCIS to require FDNS immigration officers to prescreen all asylum applications for indicators of fraud to the extent that it is cost-effective and feasible.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: We reported that some asylum offices have strengthened their capability to detect and prevent fraud by using immigration officers from USCIS's Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) to prescreen affirmative asylum applications; however, the use of this practice varied across asylum offices. In October 2016, DHS stated that FDNS had completed an initial review of all locally-developed prescreening policies and was working to analyze them comprehensively. Since completing this analysis, USCIS has been drafting a memorandum and companion guidance to be provided to the asylum offices, which USCIS officials stated will establish the framework for a national prescreening program. As of March 2017, USCIS reported that it expects to complete the guidance by September 30, 2017. Greater use of prescreening could allow FDNS to identify fraud trends and detect patterns that may not be evident in a small sample of asylum applications.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that USCIS's fraud prevention controls are adequate and effectively implemented, and ensure that asylum officers and FDNS immigration officers have the capacity to detect and prevent fraud, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct USCIS to include a review of potential fraud indicators in future random quality assurance reviews of asylum applications.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2015, GAO reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had implemented some quality assurance procedures for asylum decisions that are designed to ensure asylum officers' decisions are legally sufficient. However, GAO found that USCIS's random quality assurance reviews of asylum cases did not include an examination of potential indicators of fraud in the case file. Thus, GAO recommended that USCIS include a review of potential fraud indicators in future random quality assurance reviews of asylum applications. As of January 2016, USCIS's Asylum Division had revised its quality assurance checklist to include a fraud-specific section that will help the reviewers evaluate whether any fraud indicators were properly identified, analyzed, and processed by asylum officers. According to Asylum Division officials, the revised checklist will be used for all general random quality assurance reviews of asylum cases, and officials stated that the next such random review is scheduled for fiscal year 2017. To fully address this recommendation, upon completion of the fiscal year 2017 review, USCIS plans to provide GAO with documentation that the revised checklist was used.