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Immigration and Naturalization Service's Deferred Inspections at Airports
Report Number I-2001-29
September 2001


Audit Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

Audit Objectives

The purpose of the audit was to evaluate the effectiveness of the INS's deferred inspections of aliens entering the U.S. through airports. Objectives were to determine if: (1) the deferred inspection process could be improved; (2) management controls and oversight were adequate; (3) inspectors followed established deferral procedures for granting and completing deferred inspection; and (4) inspectors took appropriate follow-up action when individuals did not show up for deferred inspections.


We performed the audit in accordance with Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States, and included tests and procedures necessary to accomplish the objectives. However, we may not be considered by others to be completely independent of the INS as required by the standards because the INS has reimbursed us for work that pertained to the INS fee-supported programs. Nonetheless, we consider ourselves independent and do not believe that our reimbursement arrangements with the INS had any effect with regard to our conduct of this audit.

The scope of the audit encompassed deferred inspection records for the period August 1, 1998 through July 31, 1999, and related follow-up conducted through January 2001 to determine final disposition of sample cases. Because the INS did not maintain a complete, current, or accurate database, we had INS conduct a manual count to determine total deferred inspections during the review period. Based on that count, the INS reported that there were 62 airport locations where inspectors deferred about 10,665 inspections. We relied on the computer-generated listings from the INS's IBIS, PAS and NIIS databases to support our conclusions. Our review showed that these databases were not always complete, current, or accurate. However, when these data are viewed in context with other available evidence, we believe the opinions, conclusions, and recommendations in this report are valid.


To complete the audit, we performed the following procedures: (1) reviewed applicable laws, policies, regulations, manuals, and memoranda; (2) devised a statistical sampling plan, which included a statistical sample of 725 deferred inspections at international airports in the cities of [redacted]; (3) performed fieldwork at INS district offices in the aforementioned cities, including the testing of data, processes, and controls and interviewing responsible officials; and (4) surveyed other INS offices with questionnaires and confirmation letters.