The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2002, allocated $22.8 billion between 2014 and 2016 to enforce and administer immigration laws, one of its strategic missions. In 2014 a DHS Unity of Effort initiative created the Joint Task Forces to coordinate the department's resources.(1) The DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently audited DHS to evaluate whether it has been achieving its mission in the most efficient way possible.

Released on November 1 2017 the OIG report indicates that DHS component agencies "still face challenges taking a unified approach to immigration enforcement and administration activities".(2) Further, the report found that there were issues with the lack of unity among agencies such as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Customs and Border Protection and US Citizenship and Immigration Service. This has led to inefficiencies in utilising funding and carrying out mission objectives.

In response to the report, DHS intends to create a DHS Immigration Policy Council to address overarching immigration issues strategically and foster coordination and cooperation. The new council will provide an institutionalised structure for DHS-wide strategic planning relating to immigration policy and operations, including:

  • fostering better awareness of roles and responsibilities;
  • facilitating better coordination and communication among the involved components and guiding existing cross-component immigration initiatives;
  • ensuring components collect and report data for immigration activity and analysing the information to make decisions and reduce inefficiencies; and
  • serving as a mediator for conflicts regarding mission accomplishment as well as overarching legal, policy and other issues.

DHS designates that the council will serve as a mechanism for developing creative solutions to fully integrate immigration policy into department-wide planning and to establish a forum to communicate, collaborate and implement the DHS secretary's policy priorities. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke stated that two of the key DHS priorities are "closing loopholes in our ability to enforce immigration laws and eliminating the magnets for illegal immigration" and working "with Congress on legislation that will enact many of these common sense and necessary reforms that will inevitably better secure our nation".(3)

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For further information on this topic please contact Melissa B Winkler at Fakhoury Law Group PC by telephone (+1 248 643 4900) or email (melissa@employmentimmigration.com). The Fakhoury Law Group PC website can be accessed at www.employmentimmigration.com.

Endnotes

(1) www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017-11/OIG-18-07-Oct17.pdf.

(2) www.oig.dhs.gov/news/press-releases/2017/11012017/dhs-still-struggling-unified-approach-regarding-immigration.

(3) www.dhs.gov/news/2017/10/08/department-homeland-security-acting-secretary-elaine-dukes-statement-immigration.