The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General criticized the agency’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) organization for failing to make timely deliveries of IT equipment and arrange for proper IT support staffing in connection with growth in the number of state and local law enforcement agencies participating in ICE’s 287(g) program under which state and local agencies assist ICE in immigration enforcement missions in their jurisdictions.

The IG report examines whether ICE is effectively managing 287(g) program staffing, IT installation, and training as the program has expanded since President Trump in January 2017 issued an executive order to toughen border security and immigration enforcement.   State and local law enforcement participation in the program more than doubled in the 14 months following that, to a total of 76 agencies, the IG said.

Amid that high rate of growth, ICE did not analyze program needs to determine how many more program managers it needed, and was not able to hire enough to keep up with the expansion, the IG report says.

“In addition, a lack of IT support staff and a lengthy installation process have hampered prompt delivery and installation of IT equipment that law enforcement agencies 287(g) program need to carry out their immigration enforcement-related duties,” the IG report says.

In the area of IT equipment installments, the IG said ICE’s CIO Office aims to complete the process within 180 days, but that about half of the installations in FY 2017 took more than 200 days.

“Approving all new participants without adequate planning has hindered ICE’s oversight and management of the 287(g) program and may be affecting participating agencies’ ability to assist ICE in enforcing immigration laws and identifying removable aliens,” the report says.

The IG said it recommended that ICE address issues with program staffing, improve timeliness of IT equipment delivery to law enforcement agencies, and assess program participant training.

ICE has concurred with three of the IG’s four recommendations, the IG said, but on the other recommendation – for ICE to develop an IT installation and infrastructure plan in coordination with the CIO Office to identify efficiencies to reduce the installation timeline – ICE “non-concurred,” the IG said.

According to the IG, ICE maintained that its current process for IT installation in 287(g) locations should resolve and close the IG’s recommendation, but the IG said it is sticking by its recommendation, and that that matter remans “unresolved and open.”

“We continue to recommend that ICE, in coordination with the Office of the Chief Information Officer, review and identify efficiencies in the installation of the IT equipment, including reducing how long it takes ICE to sign IT agreements with localities and streamlining the contracting process to purchase equipment for localities,” the IG said. “ICE needs to ensure that IT equipment is properly installed in a timely manner. We will resolve this recommendation when we receive a corrective action plan,” it said.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.