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Detailed Information on the
Immigration Adjudication Assessment

Program Code 10003809
Program Title Immigration Adjudication
Department Name Department of Justice
Agency/Bureau Name Department of Justice
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2006
Assessment Rating Moderately Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 100%
Program Management 100%
Program Results/Accountability 67%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $238
FY2008 $238
FY2009 $261

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments
2007

Implement digital audio recording to improve quality of transcriptions and enhance efficiency in the flow of records between the immigration courts, transcription contractors, and the Board.

Action taken, but not completed
2007

Develop an expanded training program for immigration judges and Board legal staff, including the provision of comprehensive reference materials, to ensure that the adjudicating staff receive continuing education on immigration issues.

Action taken, but not completed
2008

Expand the Legal Orientation Program by six sites, to improve efficiencies in immigration court proceedings for detained aliens by increasing their awareness of their rights and the process.

No action taken

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments
2007

During FY 2007, reassess long-term output targets to determine whether they remain adequately ambitious.

Completed

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Output

Measure: Complete 90% of EOIR immigration court priority cases within established time frames by 2012.


Explanation:EOIR has defined certain types of cases as priority cases for the immigration courts. This output measure holds the immigration courts to completing these cases in designated time frames. The measure represents the average of annual performance measures for three types of priority cases: expedited asylum cases, institutional hearing program cases, and detained cases with no applications for relief. This output measure represents the average EOIR cannot adopt outcome measures for the adjudicatory aspect of the program because the agency is an impartial body established to decide immigration cases. Therefore, specific outcome measures, such as an increase in the number of final removal orders or grants of relief, would violate the agency's mission, as each case is decided on its own merits. The 90 percent remains a challenge to meet given EOIR's current personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. In the past five years, immigration court receipts have increased 37 percent. However, EOIR is not guaranteed commensurate increases in resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 90% 89%
2004 90% 89%
2005 90% 91%
2006 90% 93%
2007 90% 89%
2008 90%
2009 90%
2010 90%
2011 90%
2012 90%
2013 90%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Complete 90% of immigration court expedited asylum cases within 180 days.


Explanation:This efficiency measure is an output measure aimed at measuring the percentage of expedited asylum cases the immigration courts complete within the designated time frame. The 180-day adjudication time frame was instituted by regulation and codified in statute to restructure the asylum system to grant valid claims promptly and refer all other cases to immigration court to begin removal proceedings. These streamlined procedures ensure the efficient handling of asylum cases. Those deserving protection can receive it quickly and incentives for fraud and abuse are minimized. By maintaining this adjudication time frame, the immigration courts ensure the continued efficient processing of the asylum system. The 90 percent remains a challenge to meet given EOIR's current personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. In the past five years, immigration court receipts have increased 37 percent. However, EOIR is not guaranteed commensurate increases in resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 90% 91%
2004 90% 89%
2005 90% 92%
2006 90% 95%
2007 90% 90%
2008 90%
2009 90%
2010 90%
2011 90%
2012 90%
2013 90%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Complete 90% of immigration court Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) cases prior to release from incarceration.


Explanation:This efficiency measure is an output measure aimed at measuring the percentage of institutional hearing program cases the immigration courts complete prior to release from incarceration. Improvements in this measure positively impact the larger immigration system, in that DHS can then initiate removal of those with final orders of removal, making available much needed detention bed space. Such efficiencies will assist DHS in carrying out its Secure Border Initiative, through which DHS intends to detain all individuals until their immigration court hearings are complete. The 90 percent remains a challenge to meet given EOIR's current personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. In the past five years, immigration court receipts have increased 37 percent. However, EOIR is not guaranteed commensurate increases in resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 90% 86%
2004 90% 88%
2005 90% 89%
2006 90% 92%
2007 90% 86%
2008 90%
2009 90%
2010 90%
2011 90%
2012 90%
2013 90%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Complete 90% of immigration court detained cases without applications for relief within 30 days.


Explanation:This efficiency measure is an output measure aimed at measuring the percentage of detained cases without applications for relief that the immigration courts complete within the designated time frame. Improvements in this measure positively impact the larger immigration system, in that DHS can then initiate removal of those with final orders of removal, making available much needed detention bed space. Such efficiencies will assist DHS in carrying out its Secure Border Initiative, through which DHS intends to detain all individuals until their immigration court hearings are complete. The 90 percent remains a challenge to meet given EOIR's current personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. In the past five years, immigration court receipts have increased 37 percent. However, EOIR is not guaranteed commensurate increases in resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 90% 88%
2004 90% 88%
2005 90% 91%
2006 90% 92%
2007 90% 89%
2008 90%
2009 90%
2010 90%
2011 90%
2012 90%
2013 90%
Long-term Output

Measure: Complete 90% of EOIR appeal priority cases within established time frames by 2012.


Explanation:EOIR has defined certain cases as priority cases for the Board of Immigration Appeals. This output measure holds the Board to completing these cases in designated time frames. Priority cases constitute appeals filed by aliens in detention. EOIR cannot adopt outcome measures for the adjudicatory aspect of the program because the agency is an impartial body established to decide immigration cases. Therefore, specific outcome measures, such as an increase in the number of final removal orders or grants of relief, would violate the agency's mission, as each case is decided on its own merits. The 90 percent remains a challenge to meet given EOIR's current personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. In the past five years, BIA receipts have increased 52 percent. However, EOIR is not guaranteed commensurate increases in resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 90% 81%
2004 90% 91%
2005 90% 92%
2006 90% 97%
2007 90% 97%
2008 90%
2009 90%
2010 90%
2011 90%
2012 90%
2013 90%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Complete 90% of detained appeals in 150 days.


Explanation:This efficiency measure is an output measure aimed at measuring the percentage of detained cases the Board completes within the designated time frame. Improvements in this measure positively impact the larger immigration system, in that DHS can then initiate removal of those with final orders of removal, making available much needed detention bed space. Such efficiencies will assist DHS in carrying out its Secure Border Initiative, through which DHS intends to detain all individuals until their immigration court hearings are complete. The 90 percent remains a challenge to meet given EOIR's current personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. In the past five years, BIA receipts have increased 52 percent. However, EOIR is not guaranteed commensurate increases in resources.

Year Target Actual
2003 90% 69%
2004 90% 82%
2005 90% 83%
2006 90% 94%
2007 90% 97%
2008 90%
2009 90%
2010 90%
2011 90%
2012 90%
2013 90%
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Eliminate backlog of pending immigration court cases filed prior to FY 2004 by 2008.


Explanation:EOIR has set eliminating case backlogs at the immigration courts by 2008 as an outcome measure for the agency's Strategic Plan. The backlog is defined as pending cases filed prior to FY 2004. EOIR cannot commit to eliminating this backlog sooner due to the agency's continuing need to adjudicate priority cases within specified time frames. However, improvements in this measure positively impact the immigration courts' ability to carry out efficiently and effectively their mandate of providing fair and expeditious interpretation and application of immigration law. In addition, this measure furthers the Administration's aim of eliminating backlogs in all immigration adjudications.

Year Target Actual
2003 baseline 161,112cases pending
2004 80,556 65,805 cases pending
2005 40,278 27,456 cases pending
2006 20,139 8,787 cases pending
2007 10,070 5,023 cases pending
2008 0
Annual Outcome

Measure: Decrease the backlog by 50 percent each year until it is eliminated in 2008.


Explanation:This annual measure is an outcome measure aimed at measuring the reduction in backlog cases pending with the immigration courts that were filed prior to FY 2004. Although in prior years the agency was able to exceed its 50 percent reduction target, EOIR cannot commit to maintaining that higher level due to the growing priority caseload. Improvements in this measure positively impact on the immigration courts' ability to carry out efficiently and effectively their mandate of providing fair and expeditious interpretation and application of immigration law.

Year Target Actual
2003 baseline year baseline year
2004 50% reduction 59% reduction
2005 50% reduction 58% reduction
2006 50% reduction 68% reduction
2007 50% reduction 43% reduction
2008 backlog eliminated

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score
1.1

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The mission of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is to provide for the fair, expeditious and uniform interpretation and application of immigration law, as the agency is the sole Federal administrative immigration tribunal. EOIR has a single function: the adjudication of immigration cases. EOIR provides such adjudication at the administrative court level as well as the administrative appeal level. EOIR's statutory authority derives from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) and subsequent amendments. The Attorney General has delegated certain aspects of his authority under the INA to EOIR.

Evidence: EOIR administers and interprets Federal immigration laws and regulations through the conduct of immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings. Evidence includes the following. a. INA §§ 101(b)(4), 103(g), and 240(a). b. Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §§ 1003.0, 1003.1(d)(1), 1003.10, 1204.1, and 1240.1(a). c. DOJ Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm d. DOJ Strategic Plan FY 2003 - 2008 http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/mps/strategic2003-2008/pdf.html e. EOIR Strategic Plan FY 2005 - 2010, page 3 http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/FinalTEREOIRStrategicPlan2005-2010September%202004.pdf

YES 20%
1.2

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: After the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has charged aliens with being in or attempting to enter the country illegally, EOIR determines the removability of these aliens and adjudicates any forms of relief that these charged aliens may request during removal proceedings and during any administrative appeal process. Similarly, EOIR adjudicates appeals to DHS decisions regarding classification of certain aliens as immediate relatives of citizens of the United States or of lawful permanent residents for the issuance of immigrant visas. The immigration proceedings provide a process through which individuals can defend themselves against Government charges, complaints, or denials of benefits; or through which they can seek relief from penalties imposed against them.

Evidence: a. INA §§ 101(b)(4), 103(g), 240(a), 274A(e)(3)(B), 274A(e)(7), 274B(e)(2), 274B(g)(1), 274C(d)(2)(B), and 274C(d)(4). b. Title 8 CFR §§ 1003.1(d)(1), 1003.10, 1003.12, 1204.1, and 1240.1(a). c. Title 28 CFR § 68.1. d. EOIR quarterly Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) report.

YES 20%
1.3

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: EOIR is the only entity that adjudicates immigration cases in immigration court or on administrative appeal from the immigration courts or from DHS regarding immediate relative visa petitions. Once an alien is placed in immigration proceedings, jurisdiction vests with EOIR. The immigration judge is then responsible for adjudicating any forms of relief for which the alien applies. There are certain types of relief that only are available in court proceedings, such as withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture. The program works in consultation with DHS to avoid redundancy and ensure effectiveness of programs. For example, the asylum program has components adjudicated by DHS (affirmative claims) and by EOIR (defensive claims or those referred by DHS). The two agencies collaborate to ensure that asylum applicants have hearings in the appropriate venues. In addition, the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) has components managed by DHS, the Bureau of Prisons, and EOIR. These agencies collaborate to ensure that criminal aliens' immigration cases are heard prior to their release from incarceration.

Evidence: a. INA §§ 101(b)(4), 103(g), and 240(a). b. Title 8 CFR §§ 1003.1(d)(1), 1003.1(d)(3), 1003.1(d)(7), 1003.12, 1003.14, 1003.39, 1204.1, and 1240.1(a). c. Federal Institutional Hearing Program Enhancement Plan Memorandum of Understanding.

YES 20%
1.4

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: No major flaws limiting the program's effectiveness or efficiency have been identified. EOIR's program is set up as other court systems, with both a trial-level and appellate-level body. The programs have been streamlined to adjudicate the cases presented more efficiently. The term "streamlining" refers to the ability to convert certain types of cases to single Board member review, as opposed to the previous requirement that all cases be reviewed by three Board member panels. The success of the streamlining panel that was created at the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in 1999 led to further streamlining efforts such as the implementation of criteria for single Board member and three-Board member panel adjudication. Evaluation reports of these streamlining initiatives, such as those conducted by Andersen in 2001, gave positive feedback and led to a regulatory change and restructuring of the Board to take advantage of the efficiencies of streamlining. EOIR took Andersen's recommendations, as well as those proposed by the Administration, and implemented these additional streamlining measures, thereby increasing the BIA's efficiency. In addition, the streamlining of the asylum program by EOIR and the former INS was so successful that Congress wrote such changes into law. Finally, EOIR's use of video teleconferencing shows that EOIR is on the cutting edge of using technology to enhance efficiency in the program. As EOIR's continuing goal is to promote efficiencies and effectiveness in the process, the agency intends to implement pertinent recommendations proposed by the current Government Accountability Office reviews.

Evidence: a. Title 8 CFR §§1003.1(d)(1), 1003.1(d)(3), 1003.12, 1003.14. b. DOJ OIG Report 99-23 (INS and EOIR Affirmative Asylum Program) http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/plus/a9923.html c. Andersen BIA Streamlining Pilot Project Assessment Report. d. Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act FY2005 report. e. GAO 440469 (Challenges Facing the Asylum System). f. GAO 440381 (Review of the Executive Office for Immigration Review Management).

YES 20%
1.5

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: The beneficiaries of EOIR's program include individuals in immigration proceedings and DHS. EOIR's resources are directed entirely to the adjudication of civil immigration cases. Because cases are brought before EOIR by DHS, and then appeals are brought by either DHS or the alien, all resources reach only intended beneficiaries (DHS and private entities involved in immigration proceedings). In addition, EOIR is unique in providing legal precedents for the guidance of the immigration bar that are binding on all DHS officers and in all immigration proceedings unless modified or overruled by the Attorney General or a Federal court. Case completion goals have been established, ensuring that the highest number of priority cases are completed. An example of a priority case is that of an alien who is detained. Although the program eventually reaches all intended beneficiaries (aliens in proceedings), those with specific types of cases may be reached first due to prioritization of resources. In fiscal year 2005, the immigration courts received nearly 369,000 matters, which was a 37 percent increase over five years ago. EOIR plans to deal with its growing caseload in a variety of ways. On an on-going basis, EOIR's Office of the Chief Immigration Judge monitors caseload volume, trends, and geographic concentration and adjusts resource allocations accordingly. This is done by modifying local dockets, adjusting detail assignments (most immigration judges "circuit ride" on both a regular and ad hoc basis), and permanently reassigning judge and staff positions to higher volume courts. In addition, EOIR uses video teleconferencing to conduct hearings with individuals in remote locations. Finally, EOIR established an immigration court based at Headquarters to deal with the growing caseload in disparate locations. Immigration judges on the HQ court can hold hearings and adjudicate cases for any court in the country, as the need arises. These strategies involve close national and local coordination with DHS immigration enforcement personnel. None of the activities have unintended beneficiaries, as only individuals who have been served a Notice to Appear by DHS are required to appear in immigration court. Similarly, only individuals who have filed or been served with a Notice of Appeal have appeals heard by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Evidence: a. Title 8 CFR §§ 1003.1(f), 1003.1(g), 1003.3(a)(1), 1003.3(a)(2), 1003.14, 1003.16. b. EOIR Strategic Plan FY 2005 - 2010, Goal I http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/FinalTEREOIRStrategicPlan2005-2010September%202004.pdf c. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score
2.1

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The mission of EOIR is to provide for the fair, expeditious and uniform interpretation and application of immigration law. EOIR is an administrative tribunal that was established in 1983 as a separate agency within the Department of Justice, by combining the immigration judges from the former INS with the Board of Immigration Appeals. EOIR was created as a separate entity to ensure that the immigration courts were independent from the agency charged with enforcing Federal immigration laws and initiating removal proceedings for aliens who have violated these laws. EOIR has developed three long-term performance measures for the program that are tied to the agency's purpose of adjudicating all immigration cases promptly and impartially in accordance with due process. The first long-term measure covers the adjudication of priority cases for the immigration courts and has three subsets. Within this long-term goal, EOIR has identified several types of immigration court cases as priority cases for the agency, including expedited asylum cases and certain cases involving detained aliens. The second long-term performance measure is to adjudicate priority immigration appeal cases within specified time frames. Priority appeal cases cover appeals filed by detained aliens. Detained cases are a priority for the agency and are handled on an expedited basis in order to maximize the efficiency of the immigration process for these detained aliens. These two measures - completing 90 percent of court priority cases within specified time frames and completing 90 percent of appeal priority cases within specified time frames - focus on outputs rather than outcomes and are consistent with the 2008 outcome goals in the Department of Justice's Strategic Plan and in the Department's Performance and Accountability Report. These measures are also consistent with the 2012 outcome goals that will be outlined in the upcoming DOJ Strategic Plan for FY 2007 - 2012. Both of these measures are consistent with EOIR's mission of providing for fair, expeditious and uniform interpretation and application of immigration law. These output measures clearly demonstrate EOIR's progress toward meeting its stated mission. The agency cannot adopt outcome measures for the adjudicatory aspect of the program because EOIR is an impartial body established to decide immigration cases. Therefore, specific outcome measures, such as an increase in the number of final orders of removal or grants of relief, would violate the agency's mission, as each case is decided on its own merits. The third long-term measure covers the elimination of the immigration courts' backlog of cases filed prior to FY 2004. This priority is laid out in the agency's Strategic Plan as a goal for completion by 2008. This measure moves the agency toward the desired outcome of ensuring that eligible applicants receive benefits within a reasonable period of time and that ineligible applicants are ordered removed from the country in an expeditious manner.

Evidence: a. EOIR Strategic Plan FY 2005-2010, Goal I: Long-term measure includes adjudicating cases within specified time frames http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/FinalTEREOIRStrategicPlan2005-2010September%202004.pdf b. DOJ Strategic Plan FY 2003 - 2008: Complete 90 percent of EOIR priority cases within established time frames http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/mps/strategic2003-2008/index.html c. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm

YES 12%
2.2

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: The long-term measures include ambitious targets and time frames that will challenge EOIR's ability to meet them. The three measures, completing 90 percent of immigration court priority cases within specified time frames by FY 2012, completing 90 percent of priority immigration appeal cases within specified time frames by FY 2012, and eliminating the immigration courts' backlog of pending cases filed prior to FY 2004 by 2008, will be a challenge given EOIR's personnel resources and the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. EOIR's caseload is unpredictable because the agency does not control the number of cases filed. All cases at the court level are a result of charges filed by DHS, while all appeals are filed by either the individual in proceedings or DHS. As enforcement actions by DHS increase, such as the recent Secure Border Initiative, so too do receipts of matters at EOIR. For example, in the past five years, immigration court receipts have increased 37 percent and BIA receipts have increased 52 percent.

Evidence: a. EOIR Strategic Plan FY 2005 - 2010 http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/FinalTEREOIRStrategicPlan2005-2010September%202004.pdf b. DOJ Strategic Plan FY 2003 - 2008 http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/mps/strategic2003-2008/index.html

YES 12%
2.3

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: EOIR's five annual performance measures demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's three long-term goals. Four of the annual performance measures deal with case adjudication. These goals are monitored through various mechanisms and are reported in the annual budget submission. The measures are discrete and quantifiable, measuring the percent of priority cases EOIR adjudicates within the designated time frames. As the annual goals for case adjudication are used as long-term measures, it is important to meet annual goals to make progress toward meeting long-term goals. The fifth annual performance measure is to reduce the backlog of immigration cases by 50 percent each year. This measure demonstrates progress toward achieving the long-term goal of backlog elimination. This goal is monitored through the agency's Strategic Planning process. Through annual monitoring of EOIR's court and appellate cases, EOIR managers have determined that the agency is on track to meet all its long-term goals. For example, the courts have exceeded their goal in the adjudication of expedited asylum cases, showing progress toward achieving the overall long-term goal.

Evidence: a. Title 8 CFR § 1003.1(e)(8)(i). b. INA § 208(d)(5)(A) c. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports. d. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm

YES 12%
2.4

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: EOIR has five annual measures that all have ambitious targets. The agency has been measuring case completion rates of priority cases for a number of years; each year, EOIR examines its targets and determines whether they are still suitably ambitious. In addition, as budgetary, statutory, and regulatory changes occur, EOIR reviews and revises the targets accordingly. For example, EOIR established fiscal year 2003 (the year following implementation of the Board reform regulation) as the baseline year for BIA annual measures. The time frames for the five EOIR annual measures continue to be ambitious due to the unpredictable nature of the number of cases and appeals that will be filed with EOIR on a monthly basis. As DHS enforcement efforts increase, such as the recent Secure Border Initiative, there will be a corresponding increase in the number of cases filed with EOIR. However, EOIR is not assured commensurate resource increases. Over the past five years the number of immigration case receipts has increased 37 percent. The number of appeals has increased 52 percent over the past five years and likely will continue at the higher rates. The volume of BIA adjudications is dependent upon case completion levels in other fora and their resultant appeal rates. DHS and respondents may appeal decisions made by immigration judges and applicants may appeal certain adjudications by DHS Citizenship and Immigration Services district directors. As these workloads continue to increase, the annual performance measures will become even more ambitious.

Evidence: a. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm b. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports.

YES 12%
2.5

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: EOIR works closely with its federal partners and non-governmental organizations to accomplish mutual goals. EOIR has worked with DHS to streamline processing and allow DHS the ability to schedule immigration hearings electronically, providing for more efficient and timely processing of immigration cases. EOIR coordinates and collaborates with DHS on regulations to improve the immigration process. Asylum reform serves as a good example of such collaboration. In 1995, DOJ implemented its administrative reform of the U.S. asylum system. This effort was a collaboration between EOIR and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, both components of DOJ, to streamline the asylum process and minimize abuse of the system. This collaboration established adjudicatory time frames for completing asylum cases that subsequently were codified in statute. EOIR also participates in data exchanges with DHS and the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services in order to comply with congressional reporting requirements. EOIR regularly holds liaison meetings with DHS to discuss issues of mutual interest. The Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) is a cooperative effort between EOIR, DHS, and various Federal, State, and municipal corrections agencies. The goal of the IHP is to complete proceedings for incarcerated criminal aliens serving federal or state sentences prior to their release from prison or jail, allowing DHS to remove aliens with final orders expeditiously after release from incarceration. EOIR also collaborated with DHS in the development of that agency's Secure Border Initiative, which likely will increase the number of detained cases that EOIR adjudicates. EOIR regularly meets with representatives from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to discuss issues concerning the immigration process. Immigration courts also hold liaison meetings with local DHS and AILA representatives. EOIR collaborates with non-governmental entities to provide a series of Legal Orientation Programs at various locations around the country; the prime contractor for this program, Vera Institute of Justice, (through sub-contractors) attempts to assist EOIR in enhancing due process for detained individuals. EOIR contractors are committed to achieving the annual and long-term agency goals, as reflected in contract reporting requirements. The interpreter contract and transcription contract are crucial to the daily operation of EOIR, as they assist in ensuring that entities involved in immigration proceedings receive due process. In addition, the agency's information technology contracts ensure that EOIR staff can complete their work in an effective and efficient manner.

Evidence: a. P.L. 104-208 (IIRIRA) § 601. b. P.L. 105-277 (HRIFA) §§ 903 and 904. c. P.L. 96-212 (Refugee Act of 1980) § 413. d. P.L. 108-458 (Intelligence Reform) § 7208. e. Immigration Enforcement: Meeting the Challenge. f. Federal Institutional Hearing Program Enhancement Plan Memorandum of Understanding. g. BIA Pro Bono Project (coordinates with NGOs to provide representation to aliens) Report http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/reports/BIAProBonoProjectEvaluation.pdf h. EOIR/AILA Liaison Meeting Q&As on the Internet http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/ailaarchive.htm i. ACIJ Site Visit Worksheet regarding liaison meetings with stakeholders. j. Legal Orientation Program (administered by EOIR in conjunction with NGOs to provide rights presentations to detained individuals in immigration proceedings) Statement of Work. k. EOIR contracts (interpreters, transcription, certification, information technology) are written in a manner to ensure that contractors are committed to agency goals and objectives. These mechanisms ensure that all partners are committed to achieving the overall goals of the program.

YES 12%
2.6

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) currently is conducting two reviews of EOIR. These ongoing reviews cover management and adjudication functions of the immigration courts and the BIA. The independence of GAO is undisputed as evidenced by the fact that it reports directly to Congress. The quality of GAO's evaluations will be high, as GAO continually proves that it conducts thorough and sound program evaluations. This high quality was remarked upon in the April 2005 report entitled, "International Peer Review of the Performance Audit Practice of the United States Government Accountability Office." EOIR is fortunate that the scope of the current studies is broad enough to encompass its entire program. As for frequency, it is highly likely that because of the intense interest in immigration issues in the United States, that such evaluations will be conducted on a regular basis in the future. The study that concerns the asylum system is examining indicators of and challenges to effective and efficient asylum hearings, BIA streamlining, and quality assurance. The study concerning EOIR management is examining the agency's goals and workload. EOIR plans to use the results of these two evaluations in its upcoming contribution to the Department of Justice's revised Strategic Plan, which will inform the agency's long-term goals. In addition, the results and recommendations of the ongoing GAO studies will provide direction for EOIR's revision of its Strategic Plan in 2007. Finally, EOIR management intends to use the results of these evaluations to ensure that the agency's long-term and annual measures are appropriate and ambitious, and make adjustments as necessary.

Evidence: a. GAO 440469 (Challenges Facing the Asylum System). b. GAO 440381 (Review of the Executive Office for Immigration Review Management).

YES 12%
2.7

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: In accordance with OMB requirements, EOIR's annual budget requests to Congress are tied explicitly to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals of timely adjudication of immigration cases. In order to continue to meet the case completion goals in 90 percent of priority cases within specified time frames, EOIR requests program increases to keep pace with DHS enforcement increases and the resulting immigration court caseload. This strategy involves close coordination of all EOIR program requests with DHS initiatives to ensure that all EOIR performance goals of timely adjudication can be met for the additional caseload associated with the DHS initiatives. As a key player in the Government's immigration initiatives, EOIR's ability to adjudicate increasing caseloads in a timely fashion allows the larger system to operate more efficiently, including the effective utilization of detention bed space and the DHS resources devoted to criminal and non-criminal removal programs. Starting in March 2005, during the development of the FY 2007 Spring Call, EOIR instituted a requirement that any internal requests for program increases must be tied to the EOIR Strategic Plan in order to be considered by the Director. Similarly, in July 2005, during development of the FY 2006 Operating Plan, EOIR instituted a requirement that any internal requests for new initiatives must be tied to the Strategic Plan in order to be considered by the Director for inclusion in the Operating Plan. The budget requests also present resource needs in a complete and transparent manner.

Evidence: a. Budget submissions which include Performance and Resources Table, including the justification for program increase requests. b. Memorandum regarding Strategic Planning and the Budget Process. c. Strategic Planning Calendar.

YES 12%
2.8

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: EOIR reviewed its strategic planning in 2004 to identify deficiencies and moved to correct them in a timely fashion. The main deficiency was the lack of a written plan. EOIR determined that it needed a Strategic Plan to establish aspirational goals and tie management and budget together. To that end, EOIR published its first Strategic Plan in 2004, linking it to DOJ's Strategic Plan, and intends to update it every three years or sooner, as needs dictate. EOIR also has developed a strategic planning calendar to ensure that the Strategic Plan is a guiding management document for the agency. In addition, EOIR devised a biannual reporting mechanism to monitor the agency's progress on attaining the goals set forth in the Strategic Plan. EOIR works with DHS to coordinate and plan interagency initiatives such as the Institutional Hearing Program and the asylum program. EOIR has modified relevant performance plans to incorporate the new responsibilities outlined in the Strategic Plan.

Evidence: a. EOIR Strategic Plan FY 2005 - 2010 http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/FinalTEREOIRStrategicPlan2005-2010September%202004.pdf b. Strategic Planning Calendar.

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 100%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score
3.1

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: EOIR staff use an automated case tracking system to enter biographic, demographic, and decision information about immigration cases. To ensure the integrity of the data system, EOIR contracted with KPMG to perform a data audit. As the data were found to have a very low error rate, EOIR managers are confident that case tracking data are a valid mechanism for monitoring program performance. This database also provides users with time-sensitive information about due dates for cases as well as their current and historic status. The data collected through the automated case tracking system was carefully reviewed and assessed in historic perspective to develop the agency's performance targets. Data quality is monitored, and that data is used to assess attainment of program goals as well as to determine whether the goals are still suitably ambitious. The progress on goal attainment is reported quarterly to the Director of EOIR, and senior management's performance appraisals are based in part on the data results. EOIR collects data from DHS through the Interactive Scheduling System and this process helps to improve program efficiency. EOIR collects contractor performance information through regular use of reports software, invoice review, and day-to-day performance monitoring and follow-up as appropriate with the contractors. EOIR also monitors programs and performance through its Immigration Court Evaluation Program. These internal reviews solicit input from DHS and private attorneys who bring immigration matters to the courts. Through these mechanisms EOIR regularly collects data and information on agency performance in order to monitor and assess program goals and priorities and to take appropriate management action.

Evidence: a. KPMG data audit. b. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports. c. EOIR Director's Monthly Report. d. Contracts. e. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm f. Immigration Court Evaluation Program.

YES 14%
3.2

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: On June 30, 2004, the Attorney General transmitted decisions on the SES Performance-based Pay System to OPM and OMB with the Human Capital report, including a generic work plan for all Departmental SES members, with an accompanying performance "contract" that must explicitly relate to the Department's, the President's, or the AG's defined goals. On December 10, 2004, DOJ obtained approval for the SES and GS/Prevailing Rate performance orders. Additionally, DOJ completed the application package for OPM/OMB certification of the DOJ SES Performance Management and Compensation Plan. EOIR implemented five-level performance plans for all SES. New SES and manager plans include cascading tasks/assignments that are linked to the DOJ Strategic Plan and the President's Management Agenda. By December 30, 2004, EOIR certified to the Attorney General that all SES and direct report performance work plans were in place. Finally, by the end of the first quarter of FY 2005, the Department had performance appraisals for more than 60 percent of the workforce that: link to agency mission, goals, and outcomes in DOJ's and EOIR's Strategic Plans; hold employees accountable for results appropriate to their level of responsibility; effectively differentiate between various levels of performance; and provide consequences based on performance. All EOIR contracts include specific sections regarding Quality Assurance (QA). Each contract is assigned a program office Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR). COTRs monitor performance in accordance with these QA measures through regular status meetings and performance reports, which are required in the QA contract provisions. Most EOIR contracts are firm fixed price and they identify specific deliverables and due dates in order to control cost and schedules. The COTR is responsible for monitoring adherence to these contract provisions. In addition to the above, the Office of the Controller provides monthly status reports on expenditures in each line item of the Operating Plan. The status reports include spending by line item, a summary chart, and narrative explaining any anomalies. All of the large contracts are individual line items on the monthly status of funds reports provided to EOIR senior managers. In addition, many weekly and ad hoc reports are generated to monitor costs. The Office of the Controller follows up with program managers and COTRs when any abnormalities are uncovered, involving either over or underspending.

Evidence: a. DOJ PAR Chapter IV http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm b. PMA (Human Capital and Performance Budget Integration) Scorecard, December, 2005 /results/agenda/fy06q1-scorecard.pdf. c. DOJ Strategic Plan FY 2003 - 2008, Chapter III. http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/mps/strategic2003-2008/index.html d. Employee Performance Work Plan. e. Contracts. f. Monthly Status of Funds Reports.

YES 14%
3.3

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?

Explanation: At the beginning of every fiscal year, EOIR develops a detailed Operating Plan. Working with the components, the Office of the Controller develops baseline estimates based upon spending in recurring line items from the previous fiscal year. The components develop requests for new initiatives. All initiatives are reviewed to ensure that they are tied to the EOIR Strategic Plan. Once EOIR's appropriation is signed, the Director makes final decisions regarding the Operating Plan. Throughout the year, components prepare requisitions as items/services are needed and forward the requisitions to the Office of the Controller. If the items/services are covered in the Operating Plan, the Office of the Controller signs the requisition and forwards it to the Budget and Financial Management Staff for assignment of a document control number. If the items/services are not covered in the Operating Plan, the Office of the Controller notes whether funds are available and forwards the requisition to the Director's office for approval. The requisition is then forwarded to the Contracts and Procurement Staff for processing. Once the purchase/delivery order is processed, a copy is provided to the Finance Staff and the funds are obligated in the Financial Management Information System. Funds are obligated within the established time frames recorded in the Justice Financial Management Policies and Procedures Bulletin. The Budget and Financial Management Staff reviews authorized obligating documents, monitors the activity of obligated funds and verifies delivery status of goods/services with receiving reports or by obtaining a confirmation statement from the requestor. When an obligation is found to be made incorrectly (i.e., the wrong subobject class was used), the Budget and Financial Management Staff immediately makes the correction in the Financial Management Information System. The Budget and Financial Management Staff also monitors duplicate payment reports through the Financial Management Information System and takes corrective action, as necessary. The Budget and Financial Management Staff also performs monthly reviews to ensure that unobligated funds at the end of the year are minimal.

Evidence: a. In the last three annual financial audits, EOIR has received a clean opinion for maintaining and executing the obligation process. b. Monthly Status of Funds reports. c. Expenditures and Allotment Reports. d. Personnel Reports. e. Travel Reports. f. Various customized reports to identify outstanding obligations and the delivery status. g. EOIR's 2005 S&E end of year unobligated balance was 0.19 percent of the appropriation.

YES 14%
3.4

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The program has management procedures in place to ensure cost efficiencies and effectiveness in program execution. The resulting management reports are reviewed by senior staff on a quarterly basis to ensure effectiveness in program execution. EOIR has efficiency measures in place that measure the percent of cases adjudicated within the appropriate time frame. Time frames have been determined based on the priority of the caseload, taking into account statutory and regulatory requirements. EOIR has included the attainment of agency goals into relevant employee performance plans. All EOIR procurements are competed to the maximum extent possible, thereby ensuring competitive sourcing and pricing. When possible, EOIR uses firm fixed price contracts. For example, by increasing the minimum order quantity for court interpreters and other efficient contract provisions, EOIR was able to get very competitive pricing for its new 5-year interpreter contract, with estimated savings of approximately $2,000,000 annually. In addition, EOIR's FY 2005 award to Labat Anderson for General Support Services resulted in an estimated cost savings of $123,170.

Evidence: a. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports. b. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm c. Employee Performance Work Plan. d. Contracts.

YES 14%
3.5

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: EOIR collaborates and coordinates on a continuing basis with DHS and other agencies involved in immigration matters as well as non-governmental organizations (NGO) and private attorneys who practice in immigration court. EOIR works with DHS to coordinate and plan interagency initiatives. Asylum reform and the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP) are good examples of such collaboration. Whereas asylum is an issue requiring cooperation between EOIR and DHS; the IHP also involves various Federal, state, and municipal corrections agencies. The goal of the IHP is to complete proceedings for incarcerated criminal aliens serving Federal or state sentences prior to their release from prison or jail, allowing DHS to remove aliens with final orders expeditiously after release from incarceration. EOIR works closely with its Federal partners and NGOs to accomplish mutual goals. EOIR works with DHS on a daily basis to streamline processing and allow DHS the ability to schedule immigration hearings automatically. EOIR also coordinates and collaborates with DHS on regulations to improve the immigration process. EOIR coordinates DOJ intra-agency immigration matters with the Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) in the Civil Division. EOIR provides litigation support to OIL by providing certified copies of EOIR Records of Proceedings. EOIR also assists OIL with specific litigation related issues, such as jurisdictional questions, and whether given cases are appropriate vehicles for remand to EOIR. OIL, in turn, seeks EOIR's input and views in determining which cases are candidates for further review. In addition, OIL convenes an annual training conference on immigration issues that EOIR attorneys attend along with OIL attorneys and other Federal immigration attorneys. EOIR also participates in daily data exchanges with DHS and quarterly exchanges with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to comply with congressional reporting requirements. EOIR regularly meets with NGOs and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to discuss issues and concerns to improve the immigration process. EOIR collaborates with NGOs to provide pro bono representation to aliens before EOIR.

Evidence: a. P.L. 104-208 (IIRIRA) § 601. b. P.L. 105-277 (HRIFA) §§ 903 and 904. c. P.L. 96-212 (Refugee Act of 1980) § 413. d. P.L. 108-458 (Intelligence Reform) § 7208. e. Immigration Enforcement: Meeting the Challenge. f. DOJ OIG Report 02-41 (Immigration and Naturalization Service Institutional Removal Program) http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/INS/a0241/index.htm g. The BIA Pro Bono Project Report, pages 1-4. http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/reports/BIAProBonoProjectEvaluation.pdf h. Legal Orientation Program Statement of Work i. EOIR/AILA Liaison Meeting Q&As on the Internet http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/ailaarchive.htm

YES 14%
3.6

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: In the last three annual financial audits (conducted by KPMG and the Justice Management Division), EOIR has received a clean opinion for maintaining and executing the obligation process and has had no material weaknesses. EOIR uses strong financial management practices to maintain good financial internal controls for obligating funds, recording delivery status, issuing payments, monitoring open obligations and closing out obligations. These practices guarantee a good financial audit grade and enable EOIR to meet accelerated financial reporting deadlines. Prior to processing an obligating document, the Office of the Controller ensures that funds are available and that the item/service has been approved in the Operating Plan and/or by the Director's office. All documents are signed properly and dated by an authorized official and accounting data is identified. The Office of the Controller generates a number of reports (e.g., Expenditures and Allotments, Consolidated Obligation Reporting System, Travel, Personnel, numerous tickler reports) and a raw data extract is created weekly to check accuracy and validity of the Financial Management Information System data. Monthly status reports are prepared to review the progress of expenditures with the agency's Operating Plan. Communication with vendors and other officials determines proper delivery status of obligations. Invoices are received, reviewed against supporting documentation (obligating document and receiving report), authorized, and approved for payment. Payments are timely to comply with the Prompt Payment Act. EOIR complies with Departmental requirements in the segregation and responsibilities of duties.

Evidence: a. Financial Audits 2003, 2004, 2005. b. Monthly Status of Funds reports. c. Expenditures and Allotment Reports. d. Personnel Reports. e. Travel Reports. f. Various customized reports to identify outstanding obligations and the delivery status.

YES 14%
3.7

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The Director of EOIR meets weekly with the agency's Executive Staff to monitor program performance and discuss management issues. EOIR staff review program operations as part of reporting on the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA). The staff look at the program each quarter and determine whether there are any deficiencies; if so, corrective actions would be developed. At the end of each fiscal year, the Director of EOIR certifies to the Attorney General that EOIR has no material weaknesses or program management deficiencies. The Board experienced dramatic increases in appeals and motions throughout the 1990s. Despite staff increases, productivity increases, and an increase in the size of the Board, the pending caseload grew. EOIR designed the streamlining initiative to address this backlog and reduce adjudication time without sacrificing the quality of the Board's review. EOIR has set performance goals for its programs through the strategic planning process and has set ambitious annual performance goals to meet the long-term strategic plan. EOIR compiles data quarterly on its goals for reporting under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) as well as monthly workload data which are reviewed by managers to evaluate the programs, identify management deficiencies, and recommend changes as needed. These results also are reported in the Department's Management's Discussion & Analysis and in the annual Performance and Accountability Report. EOIR issues Operating Policies and Procedures Memoranda to address management issues at the court level. In addition, the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) conducts periodic court evaluations to ensure strong management controls of all courts. These reviews are conducted by a trained team of evaluators who assess a variety of areas within the courts' operations. The completed evaluations are provided to the Director of EOIR to apprise him of the management actions that have been directed at each court. Finally, all performance work plans at EOIR include program management activities; therefore, the accompanying performance evaluations would identify deficiencies and allow managers to make corrections through staff performance.

Evidence: a. FMFIA FY 2005 report. b. Andersen BIA Streamlining Pilot Project Assessment Report. c. EOIR Strategic Plan FY 2005 - 2010, Goal I. http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/FinalTEREOIRStrategicPlan2005-2010September%202004.pdf d. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports e. EOIR Director's Monthly Report. f. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm. g. Operating Policies and Procedures Memoranda http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/efoia/ocij/OPPMLG2.htm. h. Employee Performance Work Plan. i. Immigration Court Evaluation Program.

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 100%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score
4.1

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: EOIR is on track to achieve its long-term performance goals of completing 90 percent of priority immigration court cases and 90 percent of appeal priority cases within specified time frames by FY 2012. The target of 90 percent, which is outlined in the DOJ Strategic Plan for FY 2003 - 2008, and the time frame of FY 2012 are established in the upcoming DOJ Strategic Plan for FY 2007 - 2012. EOIR also is on track to achieve its long-term performance goal of eliminating the backlog of immigration court cases filed prior to FY 2004 by 2008. The targets and time frames are established in the EOIR Strategic Plan for FY 2005-2010. The goals for these three performance measures are ambitious due to the unpredictable nature of immigration caseload. EOIR's caseload is determined by DHS enforcement actions, which historically have increased each year. Over the past five years, receipts at the immigration courts have increased 37 percent, while receipts at the BIA have increased 52 percent. However, EOIR staff cannot categorically state that the caseload will be at a specific level for any out years; therefore, the agency has to be flexible enough to adjust resources to meet its performance goals. In addition, the courts have been striving to eliminate their backlog of cases while keeping up with their adjudication targets for priority cases. EOIR has been able to maintain its progress toward achieving its long-term performance goals because agency managers carefully monitor program performance through a variety of mechanisms, including quarterly case completion reports and monthly workload reports. On an on-going basis, EOIR's OCIJ monitors caseload volume, trends, and geographic concentration and adjusts resource allocations accordingly. The courts run verification reports each week that show OCIJ whether they should modify local dockets, adjust detail assignments (immigration judges "circuit ride" on both a regular and ad hoc basis), and permanently reassign judge and staff positions to higher volume courts, as necessitated by changing workload. The BIA also monitors caseload through various case status and tickler reports, specifically noting oldest cases to be targeted for timely completion.

Evidence: a. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports. b. EOIR Director's Monthly Report. c. ANSIR Weekly Verification Reports. d. BIA Oldest Cases Report and various tickler reports.

YES 25%
4.2

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: In fiscal year 2005, EOIR achieved four of its five annual performance goals. EOIR has exceeded its annual performance goal of completing 90 percent of BIA priority cases within specified time frames. The transcription contractors who work with the BIA help EOIR achieve its goals by meeting agreed-upon production levels while maintaining quality. The agency also has achieved its annual goal of completing 90 percent of expedited asylum cases within 180 days for three of the last four years. In FY 2005, EOIR also met its annual goal of completing 90 percent of detained cases without applications for relief within 30 days. EOIR has come very close to meeting its goal of completing 90 percent of Institutional Hearing Program cases prior to release from incarceration, and in FY 2005, was within one percent of the goal. The agency also has achieved its annual goal of decreasing the backlog of immigration court cases by 50 percent each year. DHS plays a role in whether EOIR meets two of its annual performance goals: expedited asylum and IHP. Without timely information transfer from DHS, EOIR cannot meet these goals. EOIR provides interpreter services in immigration proceedings for respondents who cannot speak fluent English. Approximately 85 percent of the proceedings are conducted with the use of EOIR's interpreter services. EOIR's contract interpreters have aided the agency in meeting the immigration courts' annual performance goals. The Language Services Unit of OCIJ is responsible for monitoring the contract interpreter performance and OCIJ has issued an Operating Policies and Procedures Memorandum that deals with how the courts are supposed to use the contract interpreters. The guidance helps to ensure that the courts use the contract interpreter services to maximize court efficiency and cost effectiveness. The contract compliance is quite high with complaints on less than one-half of one percent of all orders and only 1.4 percent of interpreters failing to appear for hearings. This high rate of compliance assists the immigration courts complete hearings in a timely fashion.

Evidence: a. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports. b. OPPM No. 04-08: Contract Interpreter Services http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/efoia/ocij/oppm04/04-08.pdf

LARGE EXTENT 17%
4.3

Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: EOIR's four efficiency measures relate to adjudicatory time frames. In two of these measures, EOIR consistently has exceeded the goal, while in a third measure, EOIR met its goal in FY 2005. The streamlining initiative was implemented to increase efficiency in the BIA's adjudication program. As the initial streamlining proved effective, each year the BIA has reassessed its program to identify additional processes that could be re-engineered to provide new efficiencies. The latest initiative has been to reduce the age of the oldest cases at the Board while continuing to reduce the total pending caseload. In addition, the BIA revised the certification contract, resulting in increased productivity and decreased costs. Such efforts also aided the Board in meeting its goals while gaining efficiency. For the other program goals, EOIR has shown improvement for the last several years. OCIJ has expanded the use of video conferencing within the immigration court system to utilize more effectively immigration judge time and reduce costs associated with case-related detail travel. The use of oral decisions by immigration judges also has contributed to the efficiency of the court process. To improve efficiency and cost effectiveness, EOIR managers have reviewed contracts to ensure that they are providing the agency with the best service for the lowest cost. For example, the Language Services Unit recently revised and enhanced the policy on the use of contract interpreters by which contract interpreter usage is monitored and cost savings are enhanced.

Evidence: a. EOIR quarterly GPRA reports. b. DOJ PAR http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/annualreports/pr2005/TableofContents.htm c. EOIR Director's Monthly Report. d. BIA Oldest Cases reports. e. OPPM No. 04-08: Contract Interpreter Services http://www.usdoj.gov/eoir/efoia/ocij/oppm04/04-08.pdf.

LARGE EXTENT 17%
4.4

Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: EOIR is the only entity charged with providing due process to individuals in immigration proceedings. Although DHS has certain adjudicatory responsibilities in the immigration arena, none of them falls into the category of judicial proceedings in which there is a government trial attorney contesting the individual's claims. DHS' adjudications involve only affirmative petitions, not adversarial administrative tribunals during which an individual may defend himself against charges brought against him. A comparison with other agencies devoted to immigration adjudications would be inherently difficult to perform due to EOIR's mission of providing due process. Any comparison would show that EOIR either grants or denies more claims and neither of those indications would provide a way to determine whether EOIR was performing well and fulfilling its mission. EOIR cannot compare its program to other judicial programs because immigration cases are so distinct that they do not closely mirror either civil or criminal proceedings. Instead, they are administrative cases that are carried out in an adversarial setting with a government attorney bringing charges against the alien. In addition, immigration cases are very complex, with a variety of extenuating circumstances, such as persecution, and subjective circumstances, such as "hardship." Therefore, to compare EOIR's program with other agencies involved in judicial proceedings would be inherently difficult.

Evidence: a. INA §§ 101(b)(4), 103(g), and 240(a). b. Title 8 CFR §§ 1003.0, 1003.1(d)(1), 1003.1(d)(3), 1003.10, 1204.1, and 1240.1(a).

NA 0%
4.5

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: Over the past several years, there have been many independent evaluations conducted by various entities concerning the conduct of EOIR's programs. GAO, the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF) are independent, unbiased government agencies. They have used sound methodologies to conduct rigorous studies of EOIR. The evaluations conducted by these entities have shown that EOIR's programs generally are effective and achieving results. Although there have been few evaluations conducted of EOIR's programs in their entirety, the evaluations taken together comprise a thorough review of EOIR's adjudicative program areas. The CIRF study found mandatory procedures in place to ensure that asylum seekers are protected under Expedited Removal and not incorrectly removed to a country where they may face persecution. The study also found that public-private initiatives undertaken by EOIR have put legal assistance within reach of more detained asylum seekers. The study identified program areas that could be improved through additional training, which EOIR has incorporated into its annual training program. Although the CIRF report indicated some program shortcomings at EOIR, these are not considered to be major program deficiencies. The DOJ OIG study concerning unaccompanied juveniles in INS custody showed that the efforts made by EOIR and others to recruit and maintain pro bono legal aid have improved access to basic legal information for juveniles in custody. These studies combined indicate that EOIR's programs generally are effective and achieving results.

Evidence: a. Commission on International Religious Freedom report. b. DOJ OIG Report 2001-009 (Unaccompanied Juveniles in INS Custody) http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/reports/INS/e0109/index.htm

SMALL EXTENT 8%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 67%


Last updated: 09062008.2006SPR