Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials believe that some aliens are using the benefit application process to carry out illegal activities, such as crimes of violence, narcotics trafficking, and terrorism. The extent of immigration benefit fraud is unknown, but INS officials and others believe that this problem will increase as smugglers and other criminal enterprises use fraud to bring illegal aliens, including criminals, into the United States. INS investigative units in both the service centers and the district offices investigate possible benefit fraud on the basis of information they receive from staff who process benefit applications, other INS units, the public, and law enforcement agencies. Providing immigration benefits in a timely manner may conflict with the goal of preserving the integrity of the legal immigration system. Although INS recognizes the need to balance these competing goals, it has not always succeeded. INS has several performance measures in place to gauge the results of its benefit fraud enforcement activities. However, INS has not established outcome-based performance measures to assess the results of fraud activities. Additionally, INS has not established goals or measurement criteria for the service center units that are responsible for fraud investigations.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement||1. The attorney general should direct the INS Commissioner to revise the INS's interior enforcement strategy to better integrate its many units, including the service centers' operations units involved in benefit fraud enforcement, to effectively coordinate limited resources and to address crosscutting policy and procedural or logistical problems.|
|Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement||2. The attorney general should direct the INS Commissioner to revise INS's strategy to also determine how INS should balance its dual responsibilities of processing applications in a timely manner and detecting fraudulent applications.|
|Directorate of Management||3. The attorney general should direct the INS Commissioner to develop guidance for INS's investigative units at the district office and service centers to use in deciding which benefit application fraud cases to pursue.|
|Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement||4. The attorney general should direct the INS Commissioner to use the Criminal Investigative Reporting System, or develop another method, to track and manage benefit fraud investigations, so that INS can maintain data on individuals and organizations that are or have been the target of investigations.|
|Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement||5. The attorney general should direct the INS Commissioner to determine the actions and related costs that would be associated with providing adjudicators access to INS databases for reviewing applications for alien benefits, and if appropriate, provide adjudicators such access. This determination should also include the actions and costs related to sharing information among the four service centers.|
|Directorate of Management||6. The attorney general should direct the INS Commissioner to establish outcome-based performance measures for benefit fraud investigations against which to gauge the success of these efforts, building on the results of the H-1B study to the extent practicable.|