Immigration Control

The Central Address File Needs To Be More Accurate Gao ID: GGD-92-20 January 23, 1992

The Central Address File will be used to record and preserve the names and addresses of aliens and their representatives in deportation proceedings. Because the file is not yet fully implemented, the results of GAO's review reflect the accuracy of address information in the automated system the Department of Justice uses to notify aliens about their deportation hearings. Therefore, GAO's results could differ after the system has been fully implemented. In reviewing the Central Address File in four field offices, GAO estimates that 22 percent of the records had inaccurate names and addresses. In addition, GAO estimates that nine percent of the representatives' names and addresses were also inaccurate. Combining its results for both categories, GAO believes that 12 percent of aliens may not be notified about deportation hearings due to inaccurate names and addresses. Justice plans to revise its current procedures so that alien and representative addresses are entered correctly initially and the information is properly updated. Justice also plans to provide more training for data entry staff and is considering reviewing the Central Address File.

GAO found that: (1) the Attorney General assigned the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) to develop the Central Address File, which will record and preserve the names of aliens in deportation proceedings and their representatives; (2) until the file is fully implemented, EOIR will continue to notify aliens or their representatives of the date and place of their hearings using its automated case tracking system; (3) since EOIR has not fully implemented the Central Address File, GAO reviewed the accuracy of address information in the automated system EOIR uses to notify aliens about deportation hearings; (4) in a random sample of 483 alien names and addresses in 4 EOIR field offices, 86 were inaccurately reflected in the Central Address File; (5) EOIR may not notify an estimated 12 percent of the 483 aliens because of inaccuracies in recording either their names or addresses, or the names or addresses of their representatives; (6) most of the inaccuracies in the 483 alien addresses were due to out-of-date addresses and typographical errors; (7) EOIR officials do not consider some of the inaccuracies to be errors, because current regulations and procedures do not require updates on alien addresses for aliens represented by counsel; (8) EOIR plans to provide additional training for its staff so that alien and representative address information is accurately entered and properly updated; and (9) EOIR has considered reviewing the Central Address File as part of its field office monitoring.

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