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Chapter 4. Strategies [page 1 of 3]


Strategic Concept


Endgame sets in motion a cohesive enforcement program to build the capacity to "remove all removable aliens" and eliminate the backlog of unexecuted final order removal cases within the next ten years. The strategies herein have been developed to achieve the program's goals and objectives, which have been constructed to meet the requirements of the ICE, the DHS, the President, Congress and the American people. This plan emphasizes the development of a professional workforce, trained and supported with the infrastructure and technology necessary to execute its key processes as efficiently and effectively as possible. It also reinforces the need to develop and sustain an effective case management system as a premier enabling process in both core functions. DRO's efforts to implement these strategies will be measured through a suite of performance indicators fully defined in the DRO Business Plan, the Annual Performance Plan, and the Implementation Plan.


Strategic Fundamentals


Day-in and day-out, DRO field personnel work to identify, locate, apprehend, process, and remove aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States. These are the five key processes within which the DRO workload can be categorized. The DRO workload can be more generally divided into two core business functions: 1) removal; and 2) custody management. Having laid this foundation, the Strategic Plan Working Group developed five goals with supporting objectives to guide effective and efficient execution of its five key processes.


Foundations for Success


DRO will accomplish its mission and attain its vision by executing a series of strategies and implementing robust programs that will:


Build partnerships with critical stakeholders;


Develop a professional workforce and the infrastructure to retain it; and


Employ mission critical systems and information technology.


A. Build Partnerships-DRO will enter into a "partnering" campaign to enhance existing partnerships and create new ones. DRO relies heavily on the support it receives from many of its stakeholders and it is imperative that open and professional cooperation be maintained so that all parties realize positive benefits. Partnerships built on cooperation, and on-time information sharing and data base integration can expand and strengthen the effective management of both the detained and the non-detained docket. DRO must maintain active partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and bar officials to ensure that individuals released into the community comply with court orders, appear for hearings, and depart or are removed from the country within specified timelines. DRO will also enter into a public affairs campaign to educate all its stakeholders on this plan and to garner support wherever it can. DRO will maintain a Program Description for public release, that provides the reader an up-to-date and accurate description of the DRO mission and the procedures it practices to accomplish it.


B. Strategic Human Capital Management- The "services" DRO offers can only be provided with human resources. Therefore, DRO will direct considerable energies to attracting and retaining a workforce that is professional and well trained, a workforce that does the right things and does them right. DRO seeks to maximize service-wide performance through the accomplishment of four objectives: 1) develop staffing models to meet program needs, 2) maintain peak performance through continuous staff development, 3) provide an environment to retain these valuable human resources, and 4) maintain peak performance through continuous organizational analysis. DRO has begun, with the development of the Immigration Enforcement Agent, to create career development programs affording its officers and staff opportunities for career growth and advancement. In the coming year, DRO  will conduct a review to identify disparities in staffing, structure and grades within and between all its facilities. In the year following complete of this review and coincident with the development of professional development and career programs, staffing models will be published to create consistency throughout the workforce. These staffing models will also facilitate accurate resource requirements planning.


C. Information Technology-DRO will work with other HQ programs to develop and implement a comprehensive integrated information technology system that provides operational and managerial data and supports all levels of DRO activities. DRO is currently engaged in the development of a removals module that will be integrated into the existing ENFORCE system. The enhanced ENFORCE package will offer greater integration and support than the previous one. Information technology support will not stop at the development of operations databases and systems. DRO will continue to equip itself with office automation assets that follow the industry standards and afford the staff the capabilities to perform their daily routines in the most efficient ways possible.




DRO's mission is critical to the sustained internal and interagency efforts to enforce the nation's immigration laws. Without successful accomplishment of DRO's core function (removal), the efforts of other immigration enforcement programs have limited impact. For what purpose does it serve to apprehend illegal aliens if the only consequence to their apprehension is being released and never found again to be deported? Therefore, DRO's strategic plan, Endgame, will supplement and support the ICE enforcement strategy and will guide DRO through its role in the process. This chapter provides the strategies the program will undertake as it moves forward in building the capacity to remove all removable aliens and to complete the enforcement process.


The key to sustained success is the development of a sound and logical planning process that will drive operations and ultimately resource requirements.


Personnel from top to bottom must be well trained and retained; the leadership  must be visionary' operations must be guided by standard policy, efficient procedures and logical planning; and the program must maintain the physical infrastructure (transportation, detention space, work environment) essential to carrying out the mission. Finally, such infrastructure must be supported with state-of-the-art information technology to facilitate effective and efficient management and operation.


In the near term, and beginning with the publication and distribution of this plan, DRO will enter into a cyclical planning process and develop a five-year business plan that will integrate resource requirements with operational demands. This planning process will challenge DRO staff to build its future and prepare to provide services for known and unknown demands. With this system in place, DRO will position itself and develop the flexibilities needed to refocus, redirect and reallocate resources to address and conquer unforeseen challenges and contingencies.


Strategic Challenges and Success Factors


Strategic Challenges



Endgame outlines both short and long-term strategies that, when Implemented, will facilitate realization of its vision.



Some strategies can and will be implemented immediately, while others will require time to plan and develop. In pursuit of accomplishing the mission professionally, efficiently and effectively, these strategies will address the many known and unknown challenges DRO faces and expects to face during the same time frame. Some of those strategic challenges have been identified as:


The number of aliens to remove


Limited resources (both human and fiscal)


The education of stakeholders


Political will


Foreign governments


Non-removable aliens


An efficient and effective removal process


The optimization of the detention system and its process at both national and local levels.


Key Success Factors


Key success factors address the issues raised by these challenges and guide further development of goals, objectives and performance standards and measures. Efforts must be expended in these areas to address and overcome the strategic challenges and to accomplish the DRO mission. The key success factors are:


Percent of removals related to final orders issued


Timelines of removal


Increased identification and apprehension of absconders


Expedient receipt of travel documents


Minimized incident rates in removals


Minimized error rates in removals


Enough space to detain all "referrals"


Safe and secure custody management and transportation through compliance with standards


Minimized length of alien case processing through EOIR


Length of stay in ICE detention


Optimized cost effectiveness


Reductions in recidivism and crime


Strategic Initiatives


DRO's ultimate goal is to develop the capacity to remove all removable aliens. This plan identifies several strategies the program will undertake and milestones it must accomplish to reach that goal. The program must implement and execute a series of strategies sequentially and simultaneously in order to achieve the following milestones:


Reduce the absconder backlog.


Reduce the backlog of other unexecuted final orders.


Reduce the criminal alien population.


Remove all removable aliens.




DRO will accomplish this mission through the execution of several strategies and key processes that can be grouped into five goal areas:


DRO Goal One-Removals: Promote the integrity of the immigration removals process, deter immigration violations, and reduce recidivism through the implementation of cohesive enforcement strategies in conjunction with other programs facilitating the location, apprehension, processing of illegal aliens, and especially criminals, to ultimately effect appropriate action to include prosecution, detention and/or removal.


Integral to making America more secure, the ICE removals program provides the final step in the immigration enforcement process. To accomplish this mission, DRO must be vigorous in its efforts to provide services commensurate with the demand from and efforts expended by other enforcement programs and agencies. DRO must increase its overall number of removals annually in order to thwart and deter continued growth in the illegal alien population and move toward a 100% rate of removal of all removable aliens. Therefore, to complete the enforcement process, the removals program must implement the following initiatives:


(1.1) Objective One: Promote public safety and combat immigration-related crimes by removing individuals, especially criminals and other threats to public safety, who are unlawfully present in the United States.


1.1.1: Expeditiously identify and remove all Final Order Removals.


1.1.2: Develop national policy and procedures to execute Fugitive Operations mission.