TESTIMONY OF RICHARD GALLO, NATIONAL PRESIDENT,
FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND CLAIMS
MAY 21, 1998
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee. I am honored to submit this written statement in support of my oral testimony for such an important hearing. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), is a voluntary, non-partisan professional association.
FLEOA currently represents over 14,000 federal law enforcement officers and is the largest association for federal officers of its kind. Several years ago, FLEOA joined with all of the major state and local police national associations to form the Law Enforcement Steering Committee. The Law Enforcement Steering Committee also includes the following prominent and important organizations: Fraternal Order of Police, National Troopers Coalition, Major Cities Chiefs of Police, Police Executive Research Foundation, National Association of Police Organizations, National Organization of Blacks in Law Enforcement, International Brotherhood of Police Organizations and the Police Foundation. In becoming a part of this group, federal agents were able to add our voices to those of the over half a million state and local officers already commenting on the issues that our Association considers to be of greatest importance. I tell you today, as I have told my membership in the recent past, that the continuing support of immigration law enforcement is one of our highest priorities.
As National President of FLEOA, I represent many of the outstanding men and women who enforce our Nation's immigration laws. The INS representation in FLEOA derives primarily from three organizational divisions: Investigations, Detention & Deportation, and the Border Patrol. These three, along with the Inspections and Intelligence Divisions, represent the enforcement components of the INS. I would ask that you keep them, and the complex bureaucratic framework in which they operate, at the forefront of your thoughts because I believe this is the essence of both the present problem and its potential solution.
With the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) and Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), INS was given specific new authorities -- including wiretap, RICO, and undercover investigative authorities. This very important legislation highlighted the congressional expectation that INS must play a larger and increasingly critical role in law enforcement activities. I know that I speak for all INS enforcement agents when I commend this Body, and your counterparts in the Senate, for what my members tell me is the most dramatic piece of immigration enforcement legislation of the 20th Century. However, as this century rapidly comes to a close, I respectfully recommend that the Subcommittee's work must continue. In order to properly use the new tools it has been given, we believe there must be a dynamic change in the INS organizational structure.
On April 23, 1997, I had the privilege to speak before this Subcommittee on alien smuggling and illegal immigration, from the border into the interior of the United States. At that time, I called for more INS resources for interior enforcement. I also called for a structural split between INS enforcement and service components. At that time, FLEOA supported the idea of an intra-agency separation, due to the nexus between immigration benefit services and immigration law enforcement. Since my testimony, Mr. Chairman, we have come to recognize that our earlier position recommending an internal partition between benefits and enforcement did not go far enough. While INS interior enforcement still requires additional resources and greater emphasis, I am absolutely convinced that a more profound structural change of the organization is necessary.
I respectfully submit that the time has come for INS to be split into two separate bureaus within the Department of Justice (DOJ). Immigration law enforcement must be professionalized and depoliticized. Creating two separate bureaus within DOJ is essential. It:
would provide the specialization necessary to resolve "mission overload;"
would eliminate the intense competition for resources between service and enforcement components within the same agency; and it
would eliminate the possibility of a "tilt" in emphasis by a single administrator or top agency management toward, or against, either function.
Conversely, placing the two functions under one Cabinet Department -- as opposed to subdividing and scattering a host of the INS's current components among several different agencies -- would assure continuity of communication, coordination, and oversight within the Executive Branch and the Congress. Cooperation is critical in such areas as continued access by the immigration enforcement components to data and benefits records. This could be ensured as a part of reorganization legislation. Establishing two separate enforcement and benefits bureaus through legislation would avoid a constant budget battle within the same agency between the two different, but equally important, missions. It would also eliminate reprogramming of funds from one side to the other by a single agency administrator with a bias toward one or the other function.
Mr. Chairman, just as the Congress has constructively revised the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act in recent years, so must it mandate revision of the INS organizational structure. There have been several recent bills and reports recommending a stand-alone bureau for enforcement with realigned geographical areas. FLEOA supports establishing a separate immigration enforcement bureau within DOJ somewhat along the lines in H.R. 2588 proposed by Congressman Reyes of Texas during this Congressional Session.
During the 103rd Congress, former Congresswoman Molinari of New York recommended a reorganization of the field enforcement operations of INS into multi-state geographical areas to be known as "enforcement sectors". FLEOA recommends that the Congress and this Subcommittee explore the possibility of combining the elements of these two bills to establish an immigration enforcement bureau that fully integrates enforcement functions within the new agency's structure. As you know, the present structure encompasses both immigration districts and border patrol sectors whose jurisdictions overlap, and whose top officials report through different chains of command.
A 1991 General Accounting Office (GAO) General Management Report entitled Immigration Management: Strong Leadership and Management Reforms Needed to Address Serious Problems, identified changes in the evolving INS enforcement mission. The report noted, "During this period INS saw its enforcement mission evolve from one aimed primarily at interdicting aliens at or near the border to one with increased emphasis on investigative work and drug interdiction." GAO recommended the consolidation of " . . . all field enforcement functions, including Border Patrol and District enforcement organizations, under a revised field structure that would centralize all INS enforcement functions under a single official within a geographic area." We heartily endorse the GAO recommendation which, after seven years, has never been seriously examined by the INS leadership.
We believe that immigration law enforcement functions should be integrated within a single set of geographic boundaries, eliminating overlap and establishing a clear and efficient national law enforcement chain of command. This direct line structure would be more effective in carrying out a uniform national enforcement program and would also better meet the needs of other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. One bureau for immigration enforcement, with field components reporting to the agency headquarters, would ensure proper allocation of enforcement personnel, equipment, and funding. Employee morale would be significantly enhanced because agents would have a clear sense of mission, and the knowledge that their superiors would support their efforts and accomplishments. A more uniform application of enforcement efforts would inevitably result from (1) the separation of enforcement from benefit services functions, and (2) the development of enforcement sectors with integrated components.
In 1992, the INS produced a report describing the Investigations Division's participation in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). This INS OCDETF Pilot Project Report detailed a step by step process for reinventing the administration of immigration law enforcement. The time has come to reexamine some of these recommendations¼and to take them a step further.
The OCDETF Pilot Project Report recommended that the Headquarters enforcement elements of the INS, currently made up of the Border Patrol, Investigations, Inspections, Intelligence, and Detention & Deportation, be separated internally from the immigration benefit services programs. Under the approach taken by the report, both the immigration benefits services and immigration law enforcement functions and components would remain within the existing bureau, the INS. However, as discussed earlier, it is FLEOA's opinion that a separate agency is the preferred course of action. We also believe that the interrelationships between immigration benefits services and immigration enforcement activities can be maintained by enacting a requirement within any reorganization legislation, providing that enforcement components would have continued access to immigration data, benefits records, and statistics or intelligence produced by the benefits component. Concurrently, that component would be authorized by statute to retain its ability to refer applications to the enforcement component for follow-up investigations.
Under the changes proposed by HR 2588, the newly created bureau would be headed by the Director of Enforcement and Border Affairs, a career law enforcement officer who would have a status in rank equal to that afforded the heads of other federal law enforcement bureaus such as the Marshals Service, the Bureau of Prisons, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the Drug Enforcement Administration.
We believe that the different enforcement components within a Bureau of Immigration Enforcement could be integrated within a single set of geographic boundaries at the field level called "Enforcement Sectors." These Enforcement Sectors would operate domestically (but could also be extended overseas to include Western Hemisphere, Europe/Africa, Asia/Pacific enforcement sectors). The Enforcement Sectors would be managed by a "Chief Enforcement Officer" (CEO), with branch managers under the Chief for the following components -- Border Patrol, Investigations, Inspections, Detention/Deportation and Intelligence. The Chief would oversee all enforcement activities within his or her respective Enforcement Sectors; would ensure coordination among the enforcement components; and would conduct ongoing liaison with the separate immigration benefits service bureau's field directors and asylum offices within that Sector's geographical area. The Chief would report to the Director, Bureau of Immigration Enforcement Headquarters.
ENFORCEMENT SECTOR COMPONENTS:
The establishment of integrated sub-units at the field level would ensure an appropriate level of specialization while maintaining flexibility, and would facilitate a cooperative and balanced approach. Frankly, the establishment of a Chief Enforcement Officer who supervises all enforcement components and reports to the Headquarters Director, is an idea whose time has come. This concept begs for congressional attention. It is needed to overcome the inefficient and incredibly confusing status quo -- or even the half-steps that are envisioned under an internal benefits-versus-enforcement split within INS.
The Border Patrol is the largest enforcement component within INS. Its traditional responsibility is patrolling the border between ports of entry. In recent years, the span of Border Patrol activities has extended to include drug interdiction and tactical operations. Under the new immigration law enforcement bureau concept, a Deputy Chief for Border Patrol Operations would report to the Chief within a respective Enforcement Sector.
The Investigations Division is the general and criminal investigative arm of the "Enforcement Sector," and should be responsible for all complex, protracted investigative activities. It is FLEOA's recommendation that the Investigations component operate in a manner similar to that of most major federal investigative agencies and detective bureaus. Investigative activities should place more emphasis on proactive criminal investigations in the following functional areas: anti-smuggling, benefit application fraud, document fraud, worksite enforcement, and participation in multi-agency task forces including OCDETF, Joint Terrorism Task Forces, Violent Gang Task Forces, and INS-led Community Based Task Forces. This division would be overseen by a Deputy Chief for Investigative Operations, reporting to the Chief of the Enforcement Sector.
The Detention/Deportation component is responsible for the care and custody of the alien population detained by the Enforcement Sector; it is responsible for managing the alien docket and bond control, and for arranging removal of aliens from the United States. FLEOA believes that this component should also be responsible for the processing and removal of all foreign nationals incarcerated in federal, state, and local correctional institutions or jails. The Deputy Chief for Detention & Deportation Operations would oversee this unit, and would report to the Chief Enforcement Officer.
The Inspections component is responsible for the inspection of applicants seeking admission to the United States at air, land and sea ports of entry. The Inspections Division facilitates an integrated approach to border management and promotes cooperation with other inspectional agencies such as the Customs and Public Health Services. As with the others, the Deputy Chief for Inspections Operations would report to the CEO.
The Intelligence component within the Enforcement Sector should play an integral role in support of the other enforcement components. Intelligence officers should be integrated into each field enforcement component unit. The Deputy Chief for Intelligence and staff would be responsible for the collection of information, analysis of information, and reporting of intelligence product upward through the new organization and outward to other components. The Deputy Chief would also serve as a primary liaison point with the Directors of Adjudications Service Centers, Directors of Asylum Offices, and any enforcement units remotely posted to the field benefits offices, adjudications service centers or asylum offices, to assist in their anti-fraud efforts. The Deputy Chief for Intelligence Operations would report to the CEO.
Mr. Chairman, FLEOA strongly urges Congress, through the appropriate Subcommittees, to examine and then to adopt into legislation, the above recommendations for reorganization of the INS. INS District Directors face severe pressure to provide services for aliens, and when confronted with inadequate resources, have frequently used enforcement agents as a labor pool to perform non-enforcement duties. This practice has continued for over twenty years and shows no signs today of diminishing. We believe that diversion damages the professional image of immigration law enforcement officers, it diminishes their capacity to provide assistance to other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, and it fails to provide protection for our society at large.
INS struggles under an obsolete and confused organizational structure. Without the creation of a distinct bureau for immigration law enforcement, it is unlikely that the legislative innovations passed by the 104th Congress in 1996 will ever be used to their full potential. Only through streamlining the bureaucracy, overcoming institutional inertia, and establishing balance through a separation of functions, can modern day immigration law enforcement be successful. I ask this Subcommittee to do everything within its power to effect this change for the good of our nation and the preservation of the world's most generous system of legal immigration. The creation of a new Bureau of Immigration Enforcement will allow this to come to pass.
On behalf of FLEOA, and the many dedicated men and women who risk their lives enforcing our immigration laws, I appreciate your time and attention, and the opportunity to share our views. Thank you.