The mission of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization (INS) is two-fold: to administer benefits such as naturalization to qualified immigrants, and to apprehend and deport immigrants who enter or reside illegally in the United States. Even though the INS has had difficulties with both aspects of this mission, this report focuses on what the INS is doing to address the problem of illegal immigration.
In 1994, the Attorney General of the United States announced a broad initiative to improve the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. The first priority of the plan was to reduce illegal immigration. However, despite the fact that the budget has more than doubled since the announcement of the strategy, the INS has been unable to show that this new enforcement strategy is working.
This report examines the extent to which the performance problems of the INS in combating illegal immigration are due to weaknesses in the agency¹s strategic planning and performance measurement system. When implemented correctly, these systems provide a useful framework to help agencies tie their activities to their overall purpose as an organization. These systems also provide useful performance information that lawmakers can take into account when making their budgetary decisions.
This report evaluates the strategic planning documents of the INS against models of what proper strategic plans and performance measures should look like. The argument is made that weaknesses in these documents reflect a failure on the part of the INS, Congress, and the executive branch to properly create the tools with which to achieve improved performance. Without the proper tools in hand, it is therefore not surprising that the INS is failing to meet many of its stated objectives.