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The Department of Homeland Security struggles to pinpoint if some aliens are under the age of 18, the age that determines if they are immediately deported as an adult or can stay at least temporarily in the United States as a minor, a new inspector general report says.

Children under the age of 18 who are detained by Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) officials are sent to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to await deportation or transfer to a legal guardian in the United States.

For detainees not “readily identifiable as an adult or child”, ICE relies on interview statements, birth certificates, and skeletal or dental x-rays. “ICE’s use of radiographs [x-rays], however, has been criticized as unreliable by some in the medical and advocacy communities,” the report said.

The inspector general found inconsistencies in how exam results were reported to ICE, and also found that age analyses by medical professionals varied. ICE officials were also unsure of what type of medical professional to consult when age was unclear.

FAST FACT: After apprehending a minor who is not accompanied by parents, ICE has 72 hours to transfer the child to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Health and Human Services Department.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities. Congressional Research Service reports, which prepared for lawmakers but not made public, were provided by the Center for Democracy and Technology:


  • Reed & Associates examines the FDIC’s procedures in closing Corus Bank, which had assets of $7.4 billion, and recommends the agency update some of its policies for purchases and assumptions of assets by an acquiring bank (OIG).
  • Even if China significantly appreciated its currency, many economists say the United States would still need to boost its savings and cut domestic demand, and China would have to lower its savings and increase consumption, in order to reduce trade imbalances in the long run (Congressional Research Service).


  • Pakistan has arsenal of 60 nuclear warheads, is producing fissile material, expanding production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles (Congressional Research Service).


  • USDA did not direct stimulus law money to watershed protection and flood prevention projects in areas with high unemployment rates, contradictory to the mission of the stimulus fund in helping those hardest hit by the recession (OIG).


  • Federal interagency contracting — in which one agency buys goods from another agency, or in which two agencies join together to buy goods from a contractor — is growing despite widely reported incidents of mismanagement (Congressional Research Service).

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