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Immigration Law

DOJ OIG Releases Report on EOIR’s Electronic Case Management System Awards

DOJ OIG, Nov. 1, 2022

"Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report on the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) electronic case management system (ECMS) awards. In September 2020, EOIR worked with the Justice Management Division’s Procurement Services Staff (JMD PSS) to competitively award a $35-million, 5-year Blanket Purchase Agreement (2020 BPA) to NTT DATA Federal Services, Inc. (NTT DATA) to design, configure, implement, and support a new ECMS using primary subcontractor Thomson Reuters’ commercial product. EOIR’s goals for updating its ECMS were to improve case scheduling, increase adjudication efficiency, and reduce the pending case backlog. The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified several concerns that negatively affected the software development team’s capacity to adapt to planned and unplanned work, time, and budgeting constraints, thereby jeopardizing EOIR’s ability to meet these goals. ... Results in Brief - We found that JMD’s and EOIR’s contracting files did not demonstrate that the acquisition planning team applied well-established techniques to facilitate monitoring and overseeing the contractors’ performance in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), DOJ and EOIR policies, or the award terms and conditions. For example, JMD’s and EOIR’s inconsistent application of award terms and internal policies led to the contractor billing overtime without the required pre-approval and receiving advance payments for work not yet performed. Also, the pricing analysis that JMD used to determine the award ceiling did not consider the work required for all ECMS project phases. As a result, the software development team is ill-positioned to adapt to planned and unplanned work, time, and budgeting constraints, which jeopardizes the immigration courts’ ability to meet their goals of improving case scheduling, increasing adjudication efficiency, and reducing the active pending case backlog. Many of these deficiencies reflect concerns the OIG highlighted in DOJ-wide management advisory memoranda concerning: (1) contract administration and (2) compliance with laws and regulations that protect the whistleblower rights of those who support federal contracts."