Report Shows Better Oversight Needed for DHS Fee-Collecting Programs

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report after examining the way the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) manages the billions of dollars it collects from its various programs. In FY 2014, DHS received $15 billion in fees and other collections across 38 programs – including USCIS, CBP and ICE – the agencies within DHS that administer and enforce immigration laws. The GAO concluded that better oversight, monitoring and reporting of DHS programs and components are needed in order to educate the public and Congress on how the Agency’s collection programs are operating. The GAO recommended that DHS conduct regular reviews to identify, track, and report operational deficiencies. They also recommend that DHS document the processes for assessing, as well as managing, the difference between program costs and collections. The GAO found that DHS has generally focused on “ensuring continuity of program operations rather than efficiently using the funds.” The release of this report comes after the DHS proposed increasing the fees USCIS chargers for certain immigration and naturalization filings. USCIS says the new fees are needed to maintain adequate service and recover costs. This fee hike will affect many immigrants, including those commonly applying for a Form I-140, where the fee will go up more than 20%. With the release of the GAO report, it is clear the DHS needs regular and comprehensive oversight of the various programs and components – including the proposed new fees from USCIS – to ensure an effective and efficient use of fees.

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About ABCs of Immigration Law
The global economy has become increasingly transactional and transcontinental. Since 9/11, there have been many amendments to immigration laws in the United States that have largely affected both individuals and businesses. Cozen O'Connor's immigration law blog, ABC's of Immigration Law, focuses on the interests and the challenges faced by those individuals and business impacted by immigration laws.
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