U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS’) Office of Security and Integrity Chief Jan P. Lane and her team have done exactly that.
As part of the Efficiency Review, Jan and her team fundamentally changed the way they were conducting trainings and conferences for more than 10,470 USCICS employees around the country- saving time, reducing travel costs, and cutting back on training materials. By adopting new web-conferencing software, employees from across the country can participate and get the information they need to do their jobs whenever they need it- all while working from their own desks.
The USCIS Office of Security and Integrity estimates that they’ve avoided more than $600,000 as a result of deploying this new web conferencing tool. And when you consider the indirect or harder to measure savings, such as lost productivity due to travel days, coordinating travel, and conferences, the overall impact of this efficiency is even more impressive.
By using technology to streamline operations, save employees’ time and taxpayers’ money, and ensure that personnel receive the critical training information they need when they need it, Jan Lane and her team have put Efficiency Review into action.
Sometimes, it’s the simplest changes that make a big difference.
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Ryan Murphy recently came up with one such idea – an ingeniously simple energy-saving efficiency. Ryan realized that, by installing timers on vending machines to automatically turn them off at night when no one is using them, his base, Coast Guard Base Support Unit Honolulu, might lower its utility bills.
Ryan got the idea after examining sales records for each vending machine on the base and measuring their energy consumption over time. He found that several vending machines were consuming a great deal of power but had very low sales revenue. He also realized that the machines were not being used at night.
As a result, Ryan removed some machines from service, relocated others, and, using seed money from the Coast Guard’s Facility Energy Efficiency Funds, outfitted all remaining machines with inexpensive occupancy sensors that allow the machines to power down after hours. Additionally, because the machines would not be operating at night, he removed the lighting systems from the remaining machines, further reducing their daily energy consumption.
Sure enough, Murphy’s base now expects to lower its utility bills by $6,000 a year as a result of this clever innovation.
Sensible and easy-to-implement, Ryan’s efficiency is a great example of the many creative ways DHS employees are saving time and resources across the Department.
Robert Namejko and Richard Winkler of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Administration and Judy Shetler and Dora Shomette of CBP’s Office of Internal Affairs are great examples of employees working together to make a difference. Together, these four employees identified millions of dollars in cost avoidances by lowering the costs of background investigations.
According to Dora, “there was a need to unify our background investigation contracts to ensure that all contractors were working from the same rules and regulations, and eliminate requirements that were no longer relevant or essential.”
By combining Dora and Judy’s security expertise with Robert and Richard’s experience with procurement issues, CBP was able to cut the costs of the contracts for background investigation services by almost $3.2 million in fiscal year 2010 while reducing the average required time to complete a case from 60 to 40 days.
As the second year of the Efficiency Review gets underway, we’re sure that CBP and DHS will identify even more efficiencies as a result of Dora, Judy, Robert and Richard’s continued efforts to seek innovative ways to make the most of taxpayer dollars.
Recently, some media reports have used statistics that appear to call into question the effectiveness and accuracy of E-Verify. I’d like to set record straight. A report by the independent research firm Westat, using a sample from a three month period in 2008, concluded that E-Verify was accurate 96 percent of the time. Since then, the Obama administration has taken significant steps to further improve E-Verify.
Read the report for yourself here.
What else did this report tell us about E-Verify?
- 93.8 percent of workers screened by E-Verify were authorized for employment—and the system instantly and accurately confirmed more than 99 percent of these eligible workers.
- The remaining 6.2 percent were not eligible for employment. Out of this estimated 6.2 percent, approximately half were told they are work authorized when they were not—just 3.3 percent of the overall population screened by E-Verify.
- To be clear, this means that only an estimated 3.3 percent of all workers screened by E-Verify were incorrectly told they were work authorized.
The system’s accuracy and efficiency continues to improve, reflecting the changes and improvements to E-Verify that USCIS has made over the past year—and continues to make.
Our anti-fraud efforts are improving E-Verify’s ability to prevent illegal workers from using stolen identities to obtain employment—including a photograph screening capability that allows a participating employer to check if photos on Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) or Permanent Resident Cards (green cards) are exact matches with the images stored in USCIS databases.
USCIS is also planning additional enhancements to E-Verify that will further improve employer compliance, reduce fraud and increase efficiency. We are adding U.S. passports to the list of documents available to provide photo confirmation, and working with states to access state driver’s license data—the #1 document used to validate identity. We’re also planning to launch a pilot program to explore the use of biometric or biographic-based verification.
Employers at more than 600,000 worksites nationwide used E-Verify to check the work authorization status of more than 8.5 million workers during fiscal year 2009, and E-Verify has processed more than five million queries during the last five months alone.
Quite simply, E-Verify ensures a legal workforce while protecting the rights of employers and employees alike—accurately, easily and efficiently. It is critically important to a legal workforce and directly impacts national security and our economy. The ultimate success of E-Verify will rely on public-private cooperation, and we are committed to continuing to work with all of our partners to improve this tool.
Lauren Kielsmeier is the Acting Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Secretary Napolitano was in Glynco, Georgia today to visit the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). FLETC trains law enforcement agents and officers from dozens of federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, serving 88 federal entities and training tens of thousands of students - over 67,000 in fiscal year 2009 alone.
The Secretary also observed a flying-while-armed training demonstration while at the facility. The Tactics for Flying While Armed Training Program (TFATP) prepares officers and agents for a range of situations they may encounter while flying armed. Now, you've probably gathered what the program teaches, as the course name is pretty descriptive, but the real point is that we train more than Federal Air Marshals to help keep the skies safe. The program has trained more than 25,000 officers and agents since 2004.
During her remarks, the Secretary discussed the diverse training FLETC provides to law enforcement professionals throughout the world—using advanced technology, real-life simulations, research and instruction to provide the latest tools and skills to guard against terrorism and other threats, secure U.S. borders, protect the traveling public and build more ready and resilient communities.
Learn more about FLETC.
traveling in 2009 alone.
While there, she will meet with top officials from the Asia/Pacific region and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to discuss ways to bolster global aviation security-such as strengthening information sharing and enhancing international transportation security agreements.
At these meetings, she will emphasize our ongoing commitment to working with global partners to strengthen the security of the international aviation network and prevent terrorists from boarding commercial aircraft. Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano took a moment during her busy schedule to tour Tokyo's famous Hai Shrine.
Secretary Napolitano will answer your questions at 3:00 PM EST via the White House’s facebook chat application.
Watch the chat @ WhiteHouse.gov/live
Watch, discuss, and engage through Facebook
By any measure, Cambodia has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Since its full independence in 1953, this nation of now 14 million has endured two distinct and lengthy conflicts, and dictatorial regime that – between 1976 and 1979 – annihilated at least 1.5 million Cambodians through execution, forced servitude, and malnourishment. Cambodia is a democracy today, but serious problems remain.
Child sex tourism in Cambodia is a persistent, pervasive practice that threatens the most vulnerable in this developing country. In recent years, the Cambodian National Police, international partners, and a number of non-governmental organizations have worked to crack down on pedophiles from around the world, arresting and prosecuting these criminals while working to rescue and rehabilitate the abused.
I am proud to say that the agency I lead, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is at the forefront of this emerging issue, and aggressively pursues Americans who travel overseas to abuse children. Millions of children fall prey each year to sexual predators, and these young victims are left with permanent psychological, physical, and emotional scars. Many American criminals clearly believe they can evade detection and prosecution by committing child sex crimes overseas. They are wrong.
My visit to Cambodia seeks to strengthen our ongoing cooperation with the Cambodian National Police. Earlier this week, we signed a Letter of Intent to solidify the working relationship between our two law enforcement agencies to combat child sex tourism. This agreement seeks to develop a bi-national, coordinated, and intelligence-driven investigative response to the sexual exploitation of children by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
There is no more poignant reminder of the critical nature of these investigations than a neighborhood outside Phnom Penh, known simply by its distance from the center of town – “Kilo 11.” There, predators from around the world prey on young boys and girls amidst the shocking poverty of a Cambodian slum. Accompanied by our Cambodian Police partners, we walked down narrow streets and dark alleys where we saw firsthand the extreme circumstances that lead some families to sell their children to these criminals – many of them from Western nations. Not long ago, ICE agents assisted in arresting an American man for abusing a six-year-old child in a ramshackle blue hut, set deep in this labyrinthine neighborhood. This individual was eventually returned to the United States and is currently standing trial for charges stemming from his arrest in Cambodia.
These types of cases are extremely challenging to investigate and prosecute, but we owe it to these young victims to take action. Tragically, many of these children will bear the emotional and physical scars of this trauma for the rest of their lives.
The United States would not be able to successfully prosecute these cases without the assistance of our international partners.
John Morton is the Assistant Secretary U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)