Dear Dr. Cuffari:
Thank you for your March 17, 2022, response to our January 20, 2022, letter requesting a comprehensive investigation into the worst border crisis in United States' history. We write to reiterate our request for an investigation and that you provide details on what you have learned from your audits and investigation so far. As you know, this was a bicameral request signed by 107 Members of Congress, which is the largest cohort of Members to make a request of you this Congress.
As our letter stated, there is recent precedent for your office taking up a comprehensive investigation based on a request from several Members of Congress in the minority party. In January 2017, 41 Members of Congress in the minority party requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conduct Executive Order #13769, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." On January 18, 2018, your office issued a 113-page report in which you obtained email correspondence and documents from the DHS headquarters, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis to conduct your investigation. In addition, your report stated that you interviewed over 160 individuals and reviewed over 48,000 documents before coming to a conclusion.
As the Department's Inspector General, you have the unique position to help improve the crisis at our southern border. We entrust you and your office to provide "independent oversight and promote excellence, integrity, and accountability within DHS." In doing so, the OIG is tasked with investigating allegations relating to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, and both criminal and non-criminal violations of laws negatively impacting DHS' mission. In our original letter, we provided ample evidence of mismanagement at the highest levels of the department, including statutes routinely ignored in favor of ambiguous policy directives. Specifically, our letter stated:
Multiple sources have confirmed to Congress that the Biden administration was warned by career professionals that the rapid implementation of several border and immigration policies would lead to a predictable surge at the border. Our concern is that the Biden administration proceeded to implement these policies despite the harm they would cause to our border and immigration system. Moreover, the Biden administration did not take adequate steps to prepare for the resulting surge and as a result, a humanitarian crisis has developed.
Further, in your office's strategic plan, you state that you will focus on oversight of high-risk and mission-critical areas and emerging threats, while responding to Congressional mandates and requests. America is facing the worst border crisis in our history, and Congress has directly asked for your assistance and expertise.
Therefore, we once again request a comprehensive investigation of the crisis on our southern border. Since our letter was sent, the situation at the border has only become worse. In April 2022, DHS reported 234,088 apprehensions at the southern border, which is the highest number recorded for a single month in over twenty years. Members of Congress and the American people look forward to your comprehensive investigation into what has caused this crisis in order to prevent it from ever happening again.
We appreciate your attention to this serious matter, and we look forward to hearing from you.