Immigration Statistics:

Status of the Implementation of National Academy of Sciences' Recommendations

GGD-98-119: Published: Jun 9, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the implementation status of the major recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) regarding the need to improve the collection and management of immigration statistics.

GAO noted that: (1) the recommendations in the 1985 and 1996 NAS reports proposed a range of corrective actions to address concerns about unreliable immigration statistics; (2) generally, the 1985 recommendations focused on changing policies and procedures for processing immigration statistics, and the 1996 recommendations emphasized collecting more immigration statistics from new sources; (3) specifically, the 1985 NAS report included 13 major recommendations that action be taken to: (a) improve the process for collecting and reporting immigration statistics; (b) issue policy statements regarding the importance of producing quality and timely immigration statistics; and (c) reorganize the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and increase INS' staff to improve its immigration statistical capabilities; (4) all six 1996 NAS recommendations focused on the perceived need to collect more immigration data from additional sources, such as the Bureau of the Census' Current Population Survey; (5) GAO determined that some actions had been taken to implement most of the 19 recommendations; the majority of the recommendations were fully, substantially, or partially implemented; (6) specifically, GAO determined that: (a) three recommendations in the 1996 report had been fully implemented; (b) four recommendations in the 1985 report and one recommendation in the 1996 report had been substantially implemented, which means the actions taken were not in compliance with the technical aspects of the recommendations, but the actions were generally responsive to and consistent with the recomendations' purposes; (c) five recommendations in the 1985 report and two recommendations in the 1996 report had been partially implemented; and (d) three recommendations in the 1985 report had not been implemented; (7) agency officials were developing plans to implement one of the three recommendations during fiscal year 1998; and (8) GAO did not categorize one of the recommendations to the Attorney General because it was basically the same as another recommendation but directed to INS.

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