GAO discussed the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP), focusing on: (1) the extent to which deportable criminal aliens were included in the IHP; (2) the extent to which the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) completed deportation hearings for deportable aliens during their time in prison or after their release; and (3) INS' efforts to enhance IHP.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Directorate of Border and Transportation Security||The Commissioner, INS, should establish a nationwide data system containing the universe of foreign-born inmates reported to INS by BOP and the state departments of corrections and use this system to track the IHP status of each inmate.|
|Immigration and Naturalization Service||The Commissioner, INS, should give priority to aliens serving time for aggravated felonies by establishing controls to ensure that these aliens are identified from among the universe of foreign-born inmates provided by BOP and the states, are placed into deportation proceedings while in prison, and are taken into custody upon their release.|
|Immigration and Naturalization Service||The Commissioner, INS, should: (1) develop a workload analysis model to identify the IHP resources needed in any period to achieve overall program goals and the portion of those goals that would be achievable with alternative levels of resources; and (2) use the model to support its IHP funding and staffing requests. Such a model should consider several factors, including the number of foreign-born inmates, number of prisons that must be visited, number and types of IHP staff, length of time to process cases, and travel time and costs.|
|Directorate of Border and Transportation Security||The Commissioner, INS, should identify the causes of immigration agent attrition and take steps to ensure that staffing is adequate to achieve IHP program goals.|
|Immigration and Naturalization Service||The Commissioner, INS, should establish and effectively communicate a clear policy on the role of special agents in the IHP and, using a workload analysis model, set IHP goals for district directors with IHP responsibilities.|
|Immigration and Naturalization Service||If it appears that IHP goals will not be met, INS should document any actions taken to correct the problem.|