Border Management:

Dual Management Structure at Entry Ports Should End

T-GGD-94-34: Published: Dec 10, 1993. Publicly Released: Dec 10, 1993.

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GAO discussed the coordination of U.S. Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) operations at border crossing points and alternatives for improving those operations. GAO noted that: (1) although previous interagency agreements between Customs and INS have attempted to increase interagency coordination, enforcement and operating inefficiencies persist due to insufficient cross-training activities and staffing imbalances; (2) Customs' and INS dual management structure weakens port operation accountability and fosters duplicative long-range planning, separate performance indicators, and unnecessary costs; (3) strategic planning and accountability could be improved and operating costs could be reduced if Customs and INS border operations are consolidated; and (4) an independent immigration and customs agency needs to be established to address the entry and assimilation of people, services, and goods in compliance with applicable immigration and customs laws.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: INS, Customs, Agriculture, and State are testing a variety of changes to the primary inspection process at 15 test sites; 6 land border ports and 9 airports. An evaluation report of the 1-year test should be completed by the end of September 1996. Based upon the test results, procedural changes could eventually be made at all land border and airports of entry. At this time, there are no plans to create a single agency to manage port of entry inspections.

    Recommendation: The Director, Office of Management and Budget, working with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, should develop and present to Congress a proposal for ending the dual management of border inspections.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget


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