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High Impact Agency Goals

The Clinton Administration's National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR) has identified the Immigration and Naturalization Service as one of 32 High Impact Agencies (HIA). High Impact Agencies are those Federal agencies which have the most interaction with the American public and business. In December of 1998 Vice President Gore stressed his expectation that HIAs would become reinvention models for all government agencies.

Vice President Gore challenged the leaders of the High Impact Agencies to identify several significant, concrete, measurable goals that can be achieved within three years. The Vice President asked these agencies to use their goals to focus agency attention on the use of information technology, customer service, and partnerships.

A brief description of each of the Immigration and Naturalization Service's High Impact Agency Goals is listed below. These goals build on initiatives in the INS strategic and annual performance plans as well as ongoing quality improvement efforts.

Goal - To Improve Customer Service at International Airports:

  • Through the use of technology, most international air passengers will be cleared through the primary inspection process in 30 minutes or less, and we will improve the enforcement and regulatory processes.

    Status: In FY 1999, the INS was able to clear 74 percent of all commercial flights through primary inspection in 30 minutes or less. In FY 2000, the INS improved its performance by clearing almost 80 percent of all commercial flights within 30 minutes or less, despite a 6 percent increase in passengers inspected, to more than 56 million, over the same period last fiscal year.

  • Advance biographical information will be obtained on 80 percent of international air passengers through the use of Advance Passenger Information Systems (APIS), greatly expediting passenger processing and enhancing enforcement. (Joint - INS, U. S. Customs, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services) (APHIS)

    Status: Through the use of the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS), the INS obtained biographical passenger information in advance of passengers arriving at select U.S. Ports of Entry. Obtaining passenger information in advance of passenger arrivals allows the INS to expedite passenger processing and enhance overall enforcement. Over 66 percent of all passengers have been inspected using APIS through June of FY 2000, and 67 carriers are now signatory to the APIS Memorandum of Understanding.

Goal - To Improve Customer Service on the Land Borders:

  • The INS will process most travelers in 20 minutes or less at any location along the northern land borders, except at peak traffic times and weekends. (Joint - INS, Customs, APHIS)

    Status: In FY 1999 and FY 2000, 96 percent of the time that land border ports of entry were open, wait times did not exceed 20 minutes. At the end of 3 quarters, INS conducted 32.3 million land inspections in FY 2000, an increase of 1 percent over the same period last year.

  • On the southern and northern land borders, the Federal Inspection Services will establish five additional Dedicated Commuter Lanes (DCL) for pre-approved, frequent border travelers who have passed rigorous background checks that qualify them for expedited entry and minimal inspection. This and other border-processing initiatives will result in the majority of travelers being processed in 30 minutes, except on weekends and peak traffic times. Additional resources are thereby freed up to reduce the illegal movement of people and prohibited goods into the United States. (Joint - INS, Customs, APHIS)

    Status: INS continues to make progress in using technology to facilitate traffic into the United States. The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) system enables inspectors at the land ports of entry to use advanced technology to rapidly screen low-risk, frequent travelers. Two SENTRI lanes are currently operational on the southern border -- at Otay Mesa, California, and in El Paso, Texas. A new SENTRI lane in San Ysidro, California, is scheduled to open September 7.

    Three Dedicated Commuter Lanes are operational on the northern border, located in Buffalo, Detroit and Blaine, Washington. It is anticipated that an additional DCL will open this year at Port Huron, Michigan. The Port Huron site will be the first test of a joint, harmonized commuter system with Canada.

Goal - To Reduce the Number of Illegal Entries by Border Crossers:

Historically, the San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas, border corridors were those most frequently used by illegal border crossers. These two areas alone accounted for about two-thirds of all apprehensions of illegal aliens along the southwestern border. Because of our current border strategy, illegal immigration patterns have been altered. However, pressures of illegal immigration continue. Local border communities and states continue to experience the negative impact of crime related to alien and drug smuggling.

By employing a multi-year border control strategy and maintaining a professional, well- trained law enforcement workforce, INS will sustain definitive control over the San Diego and El Paso corridors, ensuring that operational effectiveness does not degrade as future resources are allocated to other illegal crossing corridors along the border.

Status: The Border Patrol is maintaining control in the San Diego and El Paso border corridors and others by increasing the risk of apprehension through the proper mix of personnel and technological resources. Over the past several years, apprehensions have been declining in San Diego and El Paso and continue at historically low levels. From FY 1993 to FY 1999, annual apprehensions in San Diego went from 532,000 to 182,000, a reduction of 66 percent. San Diego's share of the INS's annual apprehensions on the southwest border went from 44 percent to 12 percent and annual apprehensions in El Paso went from 286,000 to 111,000, a reduction of 61 percent. El Paso's share of the INS's annual apprehensions on the southwest border also went from 24 percent to 7 percent over the same period.

Goal - To Expand Partnerships To Disrupt and Dismantle Criminal Organizations Engaged in Smuggling or Trafficking of Aliens, Benefit and Document Fraud, and Illegal Employment:

The INS is combating illegal immigration by focusing investigations to dismantle the criminal infrastructure that supports alien smuggling, fraud and illegal hiring from the point of origin to the worksite. The objective of this approach is to preserve the integrity of the legal immigration system and reduce the threat to public safety from criminal activities related to employment and smuggling and fraud conspiracies.

  • INS will pursue an aggressive investigation and prosecution strategy against large-scale criminal organizations engaged in alien smuggling and benefit or document fraud.

    Status: In FY 1999, the INS presented 7 major inter-regional smuggling and/or worksite-related cases for prosecution and 1,967 principals in support of the National Anti-Smuggling Strategy. In FY 2000, the INS has presented 5 such cases for prosecution and over 2,300 principals as of June.

    Operation Seek and Keep, which targeted a large smuggling organization, resulted in 24 criminal arrest warrants for individuals in the United States, the Caribbean, and Central America. Spin-off worksite investigations have been engaged and are being worked in FY 2000.

    The INS brought several large fraud investigations to prosecution in FY 1999, generating 378 benefit and document fraud conspiracy cases, and the presentation for prosecution of 636 principals. In FY 2000, the INS has presented 299 such cases for prosecution and over 500 principals as of June.

    A major fraud case conducted in FY 1999 resulted in seizure of 2.1 million false "Green Cards," Social Security Cards, and California state identification cards. Eleven co-conspirators were sentenced to 10 to 78 months in federal prison.

  • The INS will emphasize criminal cases against employers who are serious offenders: those who intentionally hire unauthorized workers or violate other employment-related statutes, are involved in related criminal activity such as smuggling or fraud, or engage in worker exploitation and abuse.

    Status: In keeping with its policy to focus on the impact of operations rather than arrests, the INS presented 182 criminal cases for prosecution against employers who intentionally hired unauthorized workers or violated related criminal statutes during FY 1999. The INS continues the emphasis on criminal cases in FY 2000. As of June 2000, the INS presented 150 criminal employer cases for prosecution.

    A multi-agency investigation resulted in sentences imposed on 22 principal defendants and the largest criminal penalty ever levied against an employer in a case prosecuted by the INS. Criminal and civil fines, Department of Labor overtime penalties, IRS back taxes, and seized proceeds for the operation totaled $5,393,000.

Goal - To Continue Naturalization Reinvention:

During the mid-90's, the INS experienced a surge in Naturalization applications. In the seven years between FY 1993 and FY 1999, over 6.4 million applications for citizenship were filed -- more than the total filed in the previous 37 years. To respond to this demand and maintain high quality adjudications processing, INS re-engineered much of its naturalization program. Some recent accomplishments have included:

  • Continue process reinvention for naturalization and begin to implement the resulting best practices to other benefits processes nationwide, while maintaining the integrity of the naturalization process.

    Status: The INS continues to reengineer the naturalization process. The INS expanded the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) service area, for basic information by phone, to cover the entire United States. The INS hired and trained 356 Customer Service Representatives as of June 2000. The INS anticipates reducing the NCSC phone busy rate to 2 percent by the end of FY 2000; this is well below the FY 2000 target of 5 percent set at the beginning of the fiscal year.

    The INS also completed expansion of its new NCSC Change of Address by phone initiative for naturalization applicants in FY 2000. Nationwide, these applicants can now call the NCSC 800 number to change their address, rather than submitting it in writing to their local offices. The basic NCSC services extend to the entire continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • Establish and maintain customer-friendly processing time standards for all applications and implement nationwide.

    Status: In FY 1999, the INS processed more than 1.2 million naturalization applicants and remains on target to process 1.3 million naturalization applications in this fiscal year.

    The INS is also on target to reduce average processing time to 6 to 9-months by the end of the fiscal year.

    In addition, the INS will process 500,000 adjustment of status applications this fiscal year, up from 300,000 processed in FY 1999.

  • Provide newly naturalized citizens the option of applying for United States passports as part of their naturalization process.

    Status: The INS and the Department of State piloted a program in two Districts, to allow newly naturalized citizens the option to apply for passports at the time of naturalization. INS officers handed out U.S. passport applications to citizenship applicants at the time of the naturalization interview. At the naturalization ceremony, a State Department representative was present to collect the applications.

    The INS continues to explore, with the Department of State, alternatives to make it easier for newly naturalized citizens to apply for passports.

Last Modified 09/05/2000

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