Immigrant Integration: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Could Better Assess Its Grant Program

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "USCIS has implemented immigrant integration efforts through outreach activities, educational materials, and a grant program, and established various measures for assessing its grant program, but has not yet set interim milestones for planned evaluations of the program. From 2008 to 2011, OoC reported conducting more than 300 significant outreach events to promote citizenship awareness and civic integration. Further, nearly half of OoC’s funding over the past 3 fiscal years—about $19.8 million—was spent on grants aimed at preparing immigrants for the naturalization process. The grants were made ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. December 16, 2011.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "USCIS has implemented immigrant integration efforts through outreach activities, educational materials, and a grant program, and established various measures for assessing its grant program, but has not yet set interim milestones for planned evaluations of the program. From 2008 to 2011, OoC reported conducting more than 300 significant outreach events to promote citizenship awareness and civic integration. Further, nearly half of OoC’s funding over the past 3 fiscal years—about $19.8 million—was spent on grants aimed at preparing immigrants for the naturalization process. The grants were made to a myriad of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, including public school systems and community and faith-based organizations. OoC has established various measures for assessing grantees’ performance under its grant program. These measures include, for example, the number of participants enrolled in grantees’ citizenship instruction and naturalization preparation programs, the number of participants who passed their naturalization examinations, and the proportion of participants who received grantees’ services and self-reported that they naturalized during the year of the grant program. However, USCIS has identified inherent limitations with these measures, such as that its data were incomplete in part because data were self-reported by program participants, and not all program participants reported to grantees whether they passed the naturalization examination and naturalized. In January 2011, USCIS drafted a statement of work for a contractor to develop an evaluation plan that would allow USCIS to measure the grant program’s performance and long-term impact, and this may help address these limitations. According to USCIS, it did not complete this statement of work or award a contract for an evaluation plan because, at that time, the agency was uncertain whether it would receive appropriations in fiscal year 2011 to continue the grant program, and the program has no authorizing statute. The final fiscal year 2011 law, enacted in April 2011, did allow the use of appropriations to fund the grant program, but USCIS did not proceed with developing an evaluation plan. In November 2011, USCIS reported that it plans to conduct an internal and external evaluation of the program in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, respectively, contingent on appropriations for the grant program. However, USCIS has not yet set interim milestones for these evaluations. Setting such milestones, contingent on the receipt of funding, could help USCIS strengthen its planning for conducting those evaluations, consistent with program management standards."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • December 16, 2011

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Immigrant Integration: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Could Better Assess Its Grant Program, report, December 16, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302277/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.