According to a federal audit, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must improve how it recognizes domestic terrorism threats and better manage its efforts to counter homemade explosive devices two decades after it was established to safeguard the United States from another 9/11. The agency faces serious management and performance issues that prevent it from carrying out its crucial mission. DHS was criticized for failing to protect the southern border, which was one of its major mistakes.
The DHS Inspector General’s report from a few days earlier stated that “Migrant surges demand a whole-of-government strategy.” But because DHS neglected to do multi-component planning between Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a coordinated reaction did not take place (ICE).
The investigation discovered that the spikes in immigration also revealed technological issues that make it difficult for CBP and ICE staff to follow migrants from their detention to release or transfer. The watchdog notes in its report that due to technological shortcomings, data was not consistently maintained in DHS’ systems of record. This can delay DHS’ efforts to reunite children with their families and sponsors or result in migrants staying in DHS custody for longer than is legally permitted. Investigators also criticize DHS’s handling of the unexpected influx of Afghan and Ukrainian citizens.
The research discloses that it was “challenging” to screen, vet, and check every evacuee after the Biden administration withdrew American soldiers from Afghanistan. Adding that the watchdog continues to evaluate CBP’s access to critical data necessary to fully vet individuals trying to enter the U.S.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a 20,000-employee behemoth established by former President Jimmy Carter’s executive order in 1979, and the notoriously corrupt Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are only two of the numerous topics covered in the report. Helping people before, during, and after disasters is listed as FEMA’s mission statement. FEMA is a division of DHS.
The organization has been embroiled in numerous controversies including widespread fraud in its COVID-19 relief initiatives. The IG notes that DHS and FEMA need to examine structural flaws in all areas of disaster-related funding and services, and that the organizations must also make broad advancements in risk assessment, controls, rules, systems and applications, resources, training, and data.
“As of July 31, 2022, OIG had received more than 7,500 complaints and initiated more than 300 investigations related to COVID-19, including allegations that fraud networks have secured pandemic-related benefits,” the new report states. Fraud and corruption is so rampant in the government’s massive COVID-19 cash giveaway that the Department of Justice (DOJ) created a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to “enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.”
Despite not delving particularly far into the pandemic fraud cases, this investigation provided enough details to make the issue clear. A document outlining DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the “leadership team across all DHS components'” 12 priorities for 2022 is annexed to the 17-page report.
In order to ensure that DHS reflects the diversity of the communities it serves, these goals include improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the workforce as well as protecting the privacy, civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights of the populations serviced. Securing the country’s borders is another top concern. To do this, the workforce of the agency needs the instruments necessary to stop unauthorized immigration and illicit flows of drugs, firearms, and other contraband.
That never happened, as seen by the fiscal year 2022’s record-breaking illegal immigration. The creation of a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system was another top priority for DHS, as were the implementation of legal pathways as alternatives to unauthorized immigration and improved policies to swiftly and fairly administer the laws of the land and uphold our values as a nation of immigrants. The remaining priorities are boosting cybersecurity, battling all forms of terrorism, preparing the country to respond to and recover from disasters, and combating the climate issue.
After receiving criticism from the auditors, DHS retaliated by writing a lengthy letter in which it claimed that the report was “misleading” and that its watchdog was “inaccurate, contextually incomplete, and ambiguous.”