Do not travel to Iran due to COVID-19, the risk of kidnapping, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Iran due to COVID-19.
Country Summary: U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Iran have been kidnapped, arrested, and detained on spurious charges. Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans–including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics–on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities routinely delay consular access to detained U.S. citizens and consistently deny consular access to dual U.S.-Iranian citizens.
The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iran.
Due to the risks of operating civilian aircraft within or in the vicinity of Iran, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the country information page.
If you are currently in Iran:
- See the State Department’s web page regarding COVID-19 in Iran.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Consider the risks involved in possessing dual U.S. Iranian nationality.
- Review your personal security plan and visit our website for Travel to High Risk Areas.
- Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
- Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
- Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
- Have a plan for departing Iran that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.
- The United States and Turkmenistan Hold Annual Bilateral ConsultationsBy Sam NewsDecember 17, 2020Office of the [Read More…]
- Federal Contractor Agrees to Pay More Than $6 Million to Settle Overbilling AllegationsBy Sam NewsFebruary 19, 2021Virginia-based Information Innovators Inc. (Triple-I) has agreed to pay the United States $6.05 million to resolve allegations that a predecessor company, Creative Computing Solutions Inc. (CCSi), violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overbilling the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for work performed by CCSi employees who lacked required job qualifications.[Read More…]
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- Commercial Space Transportation: FAA Continues to Update Regulations and Faces Challenges to Overseeing an Evolving IndustryBy Sam NewsJune 17, 2021What GAO Found The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently updated and streamlined its launch and reentry licensing regulations but has made less progress on other key commercial space transportation regulations. The new licensing regulations, issued in December 2020, replaced prescriptive requirements—in which a certain technology or action was required—with a performance-based regulatory framework, which provides applicants flexibility in how they achieve required outcomes, such as a specific level of safety. Given its focus on the licensing regulations, FAA placed on hold revisions to other regulations governing commercial space transportation—revisions which, according to FAA officials, are warranted given the industry's evolution. For example, FAA has not yet begun to revise its financial responsibility regulations, which require launch companies conducting FAA-licensed launches to purchase insurance to cover damage to third parties in case of a launch mishap. According to FAA officials, revising these regulations is their next planned rulemaking and when finalized, will respond to GAO's recommendations to improve FAA's methodologies for evaluating and calculating potential third-party losses from launch and reentry mishaps and help ensure the federal government is not exposed to greater liability than expected. FAA also faces ongoing challenges regulating an evolving industry. In particular, as GAO previously reported, FAA continues to face the challenge of whether and when to regulate the safety of crew and spaceflight participants. While some companies have announced plans to take tourists to space within the next several years, FAA is prohibited by statute from regulating crew and passenger safety before 2023, except in response to events that caused or posed a risk of serious or fatal injury. However, FAA has taken some steps in anticipation of the expiration of the statutory moratorium, such as working with its industry advisory committee to develop and disseminate human spaceflight best practices. FAA also has taken some steps to help the agency keep pace with changes in the industry. For example, in response to recommendations GAO made in 2019, FAA recently assessed its workforce to identify skills and competencies that are needed among its workforce and is working to improve its workload projections to better account for the full range of its regulatory activities and the timeline of its licensing process. Such efforts are critical for ensuring FAA can better anticipate and respond to the growing and evolving commercial space industry and FAA's emerging workforce needs. Why GAO Did This Study The commercial space transportation industry provides launch services for government and private customers that carry objects, such as satellites and vehicles with scientific research, or passengers to or from space. Continued growth and evolution in the industry is expected as reliance on space-based applications increases. Within FAA, the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) is charged both with overseeing the industry, including licensing and monitoring launch vehicle operations, and promoting the industry. This statement describes FAA's efforts to update regulations governing commercial space transportation; challenges FAA faces regulating an evolving industry; and steps FAA has taken to help ensure it is positioned to meet the needs of the evolving industry. This statement is based largely on GAO's body of work on commercial space transportation, including GAO-19-437 issued in May 2019. To update this information, GAO interviewed FAA officials and reviewed applicable statutes, regulations and selected industry documents.[Read More…]
- Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers Delivers Remarks at the Symposium on Corporate Enforcement and Individual Accountability Hosted by the University of Southern California Gould School of LawBy Sam NewsJuly 21, 2021It is an honor to speak here today, at what I know will be the first of many informative programs on the important topics of corporate enforcement and individual accountability. This is an exciting time for the Antitrust Division, for many reasons, one of which is that just yesterday President Biden announced that he plans to nominate Jonathan Kanter as our Assistant Attorney General. The Division’s career officials and staff—myself included—eagerly await his arrival and look forward to carrying out his priorities. Of course, right now I can’t speak to what those priorities will be, and my remarks today should not be taken as an indication otherwise. But I welcome the opportunity to reflect on the recent accomplishments of the Division’s Criminal Program, which I have now been leading for over three years, and shed some light on the principles underlying that work.[Read More…]
- Senior State Department Official On the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) InitiativeBy Sam NewsIn Women’s NewsSeptember 26, 2020Office of the [Read More…]
- Owner of Chicago Tax Preparation Business Charges with Preparing False ReturnsBy Sam NewsJuly 31, 2020A federal grand jury in Chicago, Illinois, returned a superseding indictment yesterday charging the owner of a tax preparation business with filing tax returns for herself and clients, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Rosemary Barton of Canadian Broadcasting CorporationBy Sam NewsFebruary 28, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- 2020 Census: Census Bureau Needs to Assess Data Quality Concerns Stemming from Recent Design ChangesBy Sam NewsDecember 3, 2020The U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) responded to COVID-19 in multiple phases. The Bureau first suspended field operations in March 2020 for two successive 2-week periods to promote the safety of its workforce and the public. In April 2020, the Bureau extended this suspension to a total of 3 months for Non-response Follow-up (NRFU), the most labor-intensive decennial field operation that involves hundreds of thousands of enumerators going door-to-door to collect census data from households that have not yet responded to the census. At that time, the Department of Commerce also requested from Congress a 120-day extension to statutory deadlines providing census data for congressional apportionment and redistricting purposes, and the Bureau developed and implemented plans to deliver the population counts by those requested deadlines. The Bureau implemented NRFU in multiple waves between July 16 and August 9, 2020, to ensure that operational systems and procedures were ready for nationwide use. The Bureau considered COVID-19 case trends, the availability of personal protective equipment, and the availability of staff in deciding which areas to start NRFU first. On August 3, 2020, the Bureau announced that, as directed by the Secretary of Commerce, it would accelerate its operational timeframes to deliver population counts by the original statutory deadlines. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in September 2020 issued an injunction that reversed the Secretary's August 2020 directions for design changes and the Bureau's adherence to the statutory deadlines, but the Supreme Court ultimately stayed this injunction in October 2020 and allowed the Bureau to proceed with its August 2020 design changes. As a result, the Bureau shortened NRFU by over 2 weeks and reduced the time allotted for response processing after NRFU from 153 days to 77 days. GAO has previously noted that late design changes create increased risk for a quality census. The Bureau is examining ways to share quality indicators of the census in the near term and has a series of planned operational assessments, coverage measurement exercises, and data quality teams that are positioned to retrospectively study the effects of design changes made in the response to COVID-19 on census data quality. The Bureau is still in the process of updating its plans for these efforts to examine the range of operational modifications made in response to COVID-19, including the August 2020 and later changes. As part of the Bureau's assessments, it will be important to address a number of concerns GAO identified about how late changes to the census design could affect data quality. These concerns range from how the altered time frames have affected population counts during field data collection to what effects, if any, compressed and streamlined post-data collection processing of census data may have on the Bureau's ability to detect and fully address processing or other errors before releasing the apportionment and redistricting tabulations. Addressing these concerns as part of the overall 2020 assessment will help the Bureau ensure public confidence in the 2020 Census and inform future census planning efforts. As the Bureau was mailing out invitations to respond to the decennial census and was preparing for fieldwork to count nonresponding households, much of the nation began closing down to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, the Bureau has made a series of changes to the design of the census. Understanding the chronology of events and the Bureau's decisions, along with the factors and information sources that it considered, can help to shed light on the implications and tradeoffs of the Bureau's response. This report, the first in a series of retrospective reviews on the 2020 Census, examines the key changes that the Bureau made in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and how those changes affect the cost and quality of the census. GAO performed its work under the authority of the Comptroller General to conduct evaluations on the 2020 Census to assist Congress with its oversight responsibilities. GAO reviewed Bureau decision memos, interviewed Bureau officials, and consulted contemporaneous COVID-19 case data for context on the Bureau's COVID-19 response. GAO is recommending that the Bureau update and implement its assessments to address data quality concerns identified in this report, as well as any operational benefits. In its comments, the Department of Commerce agreed with GAO's findings and recommendation. The Bureau also provided technical comments, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact J. Christopher Mihm at (202) 512-6806 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Nick Marinos at 202-512-9342 or by email at email@example.com.[Read More…]
- Senegal Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
- Iraq Contract Costs: DOD Consideration of Defense Contract Audit Agency’s FindingsBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021The government has hired private contractors to provide billions of dollars worth of goods and services to support U.S. efforts in Iraq. Faced with the uncertainty as to the full extent of rebuilding Iraq, the government authorized contractors to begin work before key terms and conditions were defined. This approach allows the government to initiate needed work quickly, but can result in additional costs and risks being imposed on the government. Helping to oversee their work is the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), which examined many Iraq contracts and identified costs they consider to be questioned or unsupported. The Conference Report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 directed GAO to report on audit findings regarding contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As agreed with the congressional defense committees, GAO focused on Iraq contract audit findings and determined (1) the costs identified by DCAA as questioned or unsupported; and (2) what actions DOD has taken to address DCAA audit findings, including the extent funds were withheld from contractors. To identify DOD actions in response to the audit findings, GAO selected 18 audit reports representing about 50 percent of DCAA's questioned and unsupported costs on Iraq contracts. GAO requested comments from DOD on a draft of this report, but none were provided.Defense Contract Audit Agency audit reports issued between February 2003 and February 2006 identified $2.1 billion in questioned costs and $1.4 billion in unsupported costs on Iraq contracts. DCAA defines questioned costs as costs that are unacceptable for negotiating reasonable contract prices, and unsupported costs as costs for which the contractor has not provided sufficient documentation. This information is provided to DOD for its negotiations with contractors. Based on information provided by DCAA, DOD contracting officials have taken actions to address $1.4 billion in questioned costs. As a result, DOD contracting officials negotiated contract cost reductions of $386 million according to DCAA. Based on the information provided by DCAA, as of July 2006, the remaining $700 million in questioned costs is still in process. Because unsupported costs indicate a lack of contractor information that is needed to assess costs, DCAA cannot and does not render an opinion on those costs. Therefore, DCAA does not track the resolution of unsupported costs. For the 18 audit reports selected for this review, GAO found that DOD contracting officials took a variety of actions to address DCAA's audit findings, including not allowing some contractor costs. In the contract documentation GAO reviewed, DOD contracting officials generally considered DCAA's questioned and unsupported cost findings when negotiating with the contractor. GAO found DOD contracting officials were more likely to use DCAA's advice when negotiations were timely and occurred before contractors had incurred substantial costs. For example, in three audit reports related to a logistics support task order negotiated prior to the onset of work, DCAA questioned $204 million. According to DCAA's calculations, $120 million of these questioned costs was removed from the contractor's proposal as a result of its audit findings. In contrast, DOD officials were less likely to remove questioned costs from a contract proposal when the contractor had already incurred these costs. For example, in five audit reports comprising about $600 million of questioned costs reviewed, GAO found that the DOD contracting officials determined that the contractor should be paid for all but $38 million of the questioned costs, but reduced the base used to calculate the contractor's fee by $205 million. By reducing the base, the DOD contracting official reduced the contractor's fee by approximately $6 million. In addition to identifying questioned and unsupported costs, DCAA has the option of withholding funds from the contractor and chose to withhold a total of $236 million for eight cases included in this review.[Read More…]
- Foreign Aid: USAID Has Increased Funding to Partner-Country Organizations but Could Better Track ProgressBy Sam NewsAugust 24, 2021What GAO Found The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) reporting on its principal Local Solutions indicator—the percentage of mission program funds obligated to local organizations in partner countries—lacks clarity, complicating the assessment of the agency's progress toward its fiscal year 2015 target of 30 percent. The March 2013 USAID Forward progress report states that these obligations increased from about 10 percent of mission program funds in fiscal year 2010 to about 14 percent in fiscal year 2012—a $465 million increase. However, the agency also has reported progress on the principal Local Solutions indicator in three other ways, depending on whether two key types of funding—cash transfers and certain qualifying trust funds—are included (see figure). These reporting differences make it difficult to compare the indicator from year to year and to quantify the progress needed to achieve the 30 percent target by fiscal year 2015. Moreover, USAID's approach to tracking the Local Solutions indicator has evolved since the launch of the initiative. For example, USAID included funds in Afghanistan and Pakistan, missions the agency previously had planned to exclude. If these missions are excluded, the percentage of mission program funds obligated to local organizations in fiscal year 2012, including qualifying trust funds and cash transfers, decreases by 10 percentage points. Reported USAID Mission Program Funds Obligated to Partner-Country Local Organizations, by Type of Funding Included, Fiscal Year 2012 USAID's principal Local Solutions indicator does not fully reflect activities the agency has undertaken to implement the initiative, and USAID does not have a means to track relevant mission-led evaluations of programs implemented by partner-country organizations. USAID relied primarily on its principal Local Solutions indicator to demonstrate progress. While this principal indicator reflects, to some degree, the steps missions are required to take before obligating funds to local organizations, it provides no information about the status of activities both prior to and following obligation of funds, such as assessing risk and monitoring programs. Furthermore, although USAID has laid some groundwork for evaluating the Local Solutions initiative, the agency does not currently have the means to determine the extent to which missions are conducting performance evaluations to assess the effectiveness of programs implemented through local organizations. Such evaluations can provide evidence needed to demonstrate progress toward the initiative's goals related to local partners' capacity, country ownership, and program sustainability. Why GAO Did This Study Since 2010, USAID has undertaken a series of reforms, collectively called USAID Forward. One key reform, the Local Solutions initiative, aims to shift program implementation from U.S.- based and international organizations to partner-country organizations, including governments and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The three overarching goals of the initiative are to strengthen the capacity of partner countries, to enhance and promote country ownership, and to increase the sustainability of development efforts. GAO was asked to review the implementation of this initiative. GAO assessed the extent to which USAID (1) has demonstrated progress toward achieving its fiscal year 2015 target for the principal Local Solutions indicator, and (2) is tracking progress in achieving the initiative's goals related to local partners' capacity, country ownership, and program sustainability. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed funding data and documents and interviewed USAID officials.[Read More…]
- National Flood Insurance Program: Congress Should Consider Updating the Mandatory Purchase RequirementBy Sam NewsJuly 31, 2021What GAO Found The mandatory purchase requirement mandates flood insurance for certain high-risk properties and was established to increase the number of households with flood insurance. Lenders must verify that certain properties have flood insurance. At least 10 federal entities oversee lenders' compliance, including the federal banking regulators, among others (see figure). The most frequent violation the regulators identified was related to a lack of or insufficient flood insurance coverage for properties subject to the requirement. If regulators identify violations, lenders are required to take corrective actions, and if a pattern or practice of certain flood insurance violations is found, monetary penalties may be assessed against them. Oversight of the Mandatory Purchase Requirement The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), engages in a variety of efforts to help increase consumer participation in the flood insurance market (one of the agency's goals). However, FEMA does not effectively use information related to compliance with the requirement to identify ways to meet this goal. Information currently maintained by FEMA and other federal entities could help inform FEMA on noncompliance trends and patterns and help FEMA to develop strategies to address them. By using internal and external information to better understand compliance with the requirement, and facilitating the sharing of this information among the federal entities with responsibilities related to the requirement, FEMA may help reduce instances of noncompliance, increase consumer participation, and limit the federal government's fiscal exposure to future flood losses. FEMA's floodplain maps—which, by law, delineate those properties subject to the requirement—have limitations. For example, they may not reflect current flood hazards or the potential for flooding from some types of events, such as heavy rainfall. FEMA has efforts underway that can assess flood risk more comprehensively. However, FEMA has not evaluated how the new information could be incorporated into the requirement because the agency believes it has a limited role in implementing the requirement. In addition, changes to the maps for the purpose of implementing the requirement could impact other aspects of NFIP. An evaluation by FEMA of how its new flood risk information could be used to designate which properties are subject to the requirement could help Congress revise the requirement to better increase consumer participation and reduce future federal disaster assistance expenditures. Why GAO Did This Study Flood insurance plays a key role in helping homeowners reduce the financial effects of floods, reduces the need for federal disaster assistance, and lowers costs for American taxpayers. NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available to property owners in qualifying communities. The mandatory purchase requirement requires property owners in NFIP communities to purchase flood insurance if, among other things, they have mortgages from federally regulated lenders. GAO was asked to review the implementation of the mandatory purchase requirement. This report (1) describes federal entities' oversight of the requirement, (2) examines the extent to which FEMA uses information about compliance with the requirement, and (3) examines the use of FEMA floodplain maps to determine who must purchase flood insurance. GAO reviewed documentation from federal entities, analyzed data on lender violations of the requirement, and interviewed officials and other stakeholders.[Read More…]
- Spectrum Management: Agencies Should Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms and Processes to Address Potential InterferenceBy Sam NewsJuly 20, 2021What GAO Found The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regulate and manage spectrum, and other agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are among federal spectrum users. To address potential interference among proposed uses of spectrum, these agencies employ various coordination mechanisms. For domestic matters, the agencies coordinate through an NTIA-led committee that provides input to FCC's spectrum proceedings. For U.S. participation in the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), agencies coordinate via a preparatory committee that provides input used to develop U.S. positions that the Department of State submits to a regional body or directly to the WRC (see figure). Technical Coordination Process for U.S. Participation in WRC These mechanisms reflect some key collaboration practices but do not fully reflect others. For example, while the documents that guide coordination between FCC and NTIA and the preparatory committee emphasize reaching consensus whenever possible, there are no clearly defined and agreed-upon processes for resolving matters when agencies cannot do so. Additionally, neither document has been updated in almost 20 years, though agency officials said conditions regarding spectrum management activities have changed in that time. GAO's review of U.S. participation in ITU's 2019 WRC shows that these issues affected collaboration. For example, disputes among the agencies and the inability to reach agreement on U.S. technical contributions challenged the U.S.'s ability to present an agreed-upon basis for decisions or a unified position. NOAA and NASA conduct and FCC and NTIA review technical interference studies on a case-by-case basis. When originating from ITU activities, the agencies conduct or review technical interference studies through participation in international technical meetings and the preparatory committee process. However, the lack of consensus on study design and, within the U.S. process, specific procedures to guide the design of these types of studies, hampered U.S. efforts to prepare for the 2019 WRC. For example, the U.S. did not submit its studies on certain key issues to the final technical meeting, resulting in some stakeholders questioning whether the corresponding U.S. positions were technically rooted. Agreed-upon procedures could help guide U.S. efforts to design these studies and consider tradeoffs between what is desirable versus practical, to mitigate the possibility of protracted disagreements in the future. Why GAO Did This Study Spectrum is a scarce resource that supports vital services, such as mobile communications and Earth-observing satellites. In the U.S., FCC and NTIA regulate and manage nonfederal and federal spectrum use, respectively, while the ITU sets global regulations and hosts conferences to update them. Recent U.S. and ITU activities have sought to designate spectrum for possible 5G use and to study how to do so without causing harmful interference to other uses, particularly satellites like those operated by NOAA and NASA that contribute to weather forecasting and climate science. GAO was asked to review how agencies coordinate on and study these matters. Among other objectives, this report examines: (1) the extent that cognizant federal agencies follow leading practices in collaborating on potential interference effects on weather forecasting and (2) their processes to conduct and review technical interference studies. GAO reviewed documentation and interviewed officials from FCC, NTIA, NOAA, and NASA; analyzed how various agency mechanisms and processes were implemented during recent FCC and ITU spectrum-management activities; and compared agencies' efforts to key collaboration practices and applicable key elements of a sound research process.[Read More…]
- School Owner Sentenced for Defrauding Department of Veterans Affairs Program Dedicated to Rehabilitating Disabled Military VeteransBy Sam NewsJune 15, 2021A Maryland man was sentenced Monday to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution for defrauding a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program dedicated to rehabilitating military veterans with disabilities.[Read More…]
- Political Operatives Indicted for Alleged Scheme Involving Illegal Campaign Contribution to 2016 Presidential CampaignBy Sam NewsSeptember 20, 2021An indictment was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Kentucky man and a Florida man both with conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution and cause false records to be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and related substantive offenses.[Read More…]
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- Overstay Tracking: A Key Component of Homeland Security and a Layered DefenseBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021Each year, millions of visitors, foreign students, and immigrants come to the United States. Foreign visitors may enter on a legal temporary basis--that is, with an authorized period of admission that expires on a specific date--either (1) with temporary visas (generally for tourism, business, or work) or, in some cases, (2) as tourists or business visitors who are allowed to enter without visas. (The latter include Canadians and qualified visitors from 27 countries who enter under the visa waiver program.) The majority of visitors who are tracked depart on time, but others overstay--and since September 11, 2001, the question has arisen as to whether overstay issues might have an impact on domestic security. In this report, we (1) describe available data on the extent of overstaying, (2) report on weaknesses in the Department of Homeland Security's long-standing overstay tracking system, and (3) provide some observations on the impact that tracking system weaknesses and significant levels of overstaying may have on domestic security.Significant numbers of foreign visitors overstay their authorized periods of admission. Based in part on its long-standing I-94 system for tracking arrivals and departures, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimated the overstay population for January 2000 at 2.3 million. But this estimate (1) excludes an unknown number of long-term overstays from Mexico and Canada, and by definition (2) excludes short-term overstays from these and other countries. Because of unresolved weaknesses in DHS's long-standing tracking system (e.g., noncollection of some departure forms), there is no accurate list of overstays. Tracking system weaknesses make it difficult to monitor potentially suspicious aliens who enter the country legally--and limit immigration control options. Post-September 11 operations identified thousands of overstays and other illegal immigrant workers who (despite limited background checks) had obtained critical infrastructure jobs and security badges with access to, for example, airport tarmacs and U.S. military bases. As of April 2004, federal investigators had arrested more than 1,360 illegal workers, while the majority had eluded apprehension. Together with other improvements, better information on overstays might contribute to a layered national defense that is better able to counter threats from foreign terrorists. A more comprehensive system, US-VISIT, the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, is being phased in. The design and implementation of US-VISIT, however, face a number of challenges. It is important that this new program avoid specific weaknesses associated with the long-standing system. Checking for these weaknesses might help identify difficult challenges in advance and--together with other efforts--enhance USVISIT's chances for eventual success as a tracking system.[Read More…]
- Daughter of Notorious Mexican Cartel Leader Sentenced for Criminal Violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation ActBy Sam NewsJune 11, 2021The daughter of the leader of the Mexican drug trafficking organization known as the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), a dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for willfully engaging in financial dealings with Mexican companies that had been identified as specially designated narcotics traffickers by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (OFAC).[Read More…]
- Former Security Services Executives Plead Guilty to Rigging Bids for Department of Defense Security ContractsBy Sam NewsOctober 18, 2021Two former employees of G4S Secure Solutions NV (G4S NV), pleaded guilty today to criminal antitrust charges stemming from their involvement in a conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices, and allocate customers for defense-related security services contracts. Both defendants are Belgian nationals residing in Belgium.[Read More…]