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INS Statement

April 17, 2002

Remarks of Commissioner Ziglar Restructuring: The Next Steps Press Conference INS Headquarters

Thank you, General. This is a landmark day in the history of the INS. For at least 30 years the operations of the INS in the field have remained the same. While there have been partial reorganizations focused on Headquarters, there have been no fundamental changes in the management structure of this organization where it is needed the most—in the field. The initiatives we are announcing today are the first steps in the reform of the INS and represent significant structural changes aimed at creating a clear division between the agency’s service and enforcement missions and creating better-defined chains of command within those divisions. They also demonstrate that we are not merely moving boxes around an organizational chart but fundamentally reforming the way in which INS conducts its business.

The President has made it clear that he wants the INS reformed and the Attorney General and I are committed to carrying out the President’s wishes. We will deliver on the President’s vision of an INS that provides high-quality service on a consistent basis nationwide, while protecting our borders and defending Americans from terrorism and other national security threats. These new initiatives will help make this vision a reality.

We are putting into effect today a new Border Patrol reporting structure that gives the Border Patrol Chief, who is based here at Headquarters, direct responsibility for all aspects of Border Patrol operations, including line authority over the 21 sector chiefs. Previously, Border Patrol agents reported to sector chiefs, who reported to a regional director. The regional director, who has both enforcement and service responsibilities, then reported to Headquarters. In effect, the Border Patrol Chief had no direct authority over his own organization.

The new, direct chain of command for the Border Patrol will help enhance national security by enabling the Chief to rapidly deploy personnel and other resources in response to crises arising anywhere in the United States. A good example of why this structure needs changing occurred when I wanted to send more than 300 Border Patrol agents to airports around the country in response to the events of September 11th, I found our efforts were impeded by the old structure, and I had to circumvent it in order to deploy the agents within 36 hours. The Border Patrol is just the beginning. Restructuring will result in better-defined chains of command for all agency programs, in both service and enforcement. By aligning expertise with the function being managed, we will be able to achieve greater efficiency and greater accountability.

In Detention and Removals, we are transferring control of some functions at our eight Service Processing Centers from district and regional directors to Headquarters. When this transition is completed -- hopefully in August -- the head of Detention and Removals will directly oversee the management of these agency-operated detention facilities, and will have ultimate responsibility and accountability for the care of detainees and the implementation of detention standards.

These changes at the SPCs, are the first steps of a broader plan to centralize control over all district detention and removal functions. This consolidation of management will help ensure that our detention policies and procedures aimed at creating a safe, secure, and humane environment for all detainees are executed uniformly and consistently throughout the agency.

Juveniles in INS custody, especially unaccompanied minors, present a unique challenge. To meet their special needs, we have created an Office of Juvenile Affairs, which will report directly to me. I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Boston District Director Steve Farquharson as the interim director of this office. He will have direct line authority over officers in the field as he oversees national programs designed to make sure that all juveniles receive proper care.

At the same time that we are searching for a permanent Director of Juvenile Affairs, we are also looking to fill two other key positions that are being created in the new INS – Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer. As the Attorney General noted, the CFO will have broad responsibilities aimed at ensuring sound financial management. These include developing and executing the agency’s annual budget, preparing annual financial plans, and overseeing our debt management program. The CIO will be responsible for marshalling our information systems to provide accurate, up-to-date data to both the enforcement and services bureaus and to make sure they are able to share information when necessary.

Finally, we have established a field advisory board to act as a liaison between the Headquarters Office of Restructuring and the various field components. The 11 senior field and regional managers who serve on the board have more than two centuries of cumulative experience with INS. It was clear at the board’s first meeting last week that their leadership and subject matter expertise will be instrumental in moving this restructuring forward.

I am confident that with their guidance, and with the help and support of the Congress and the Administration, we can quickly complete construction of the new INS -- an INS that will successfully meet the demands and challenges of the 21st century. Thank you.


Last Modified 04/17/2002

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