U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducts a readiness exercise at the Tecate Port of Entry on Dec. 4, 2018. (Jaime Rodriguez Sr./CBP photo)

OIG Finds Federal Law, CBP Policy Violated with Asylum Seekers at Port of Entry

Following a referral from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on August 23, 2018, the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed three allegations of immigration law violations at the Tecate, California, Port of Entry. OIG issued this report to DHS on July 9, 2019, and DHS provided a copy of the report to OSC on September 17, 2019.

OIG substantiated, in whole or in part, all three factual allegations referred to DHS by OSC.

First, OIG found that contrary to Federal law and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy, CBP officials at the Tecate, California, Port of Entry returned some asylum applicants from inside the United States back to Mexico and instructed those individuals to go to other ports of entry to make their asylum claims. However, OIG did not substantiate the allegation that managers instructed officers to do this or that it was the Port’s standard practice.

Second, OIG found that Tecate and other ports of entry use a practice known as “metering” or “queue management” to prevent overcrowding at the ports. OIG identified three concerns with how CBP implemented this practice at Tecate, including that the Port generally refers most asylum seekers to go to other ports, despite representing Tecate as open to “all travelers.”

Finally, OIG found that Tecate officials do not create records when they instruct individuals to go to other ports to make their asylum claims.

The report contains no recommendations. Read the full report.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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